By Anna McDermott

You have a new product or some exciting news to share about your company. You write a press release and send it off to your favorite media contacts. And then wait. And wait. Nothing happens. If this sounds familiar, keep reading for some tips to get your press release picked up by media outlets.

Reading a newspaper

The copy is key. The writing of your release is the first important step. You want to make it sound newsworthy, without calling it “newsworthy” or by writing copy that sounds like an ad. Phrases like “groundbreaking” or “cutting edge” are so over used that journalists don’t take them seriously anymore. Each sentence needs to matter. Use bullets to highlight important aspects. Bullets make it easy for someone to get the gist of your release in less time.

Pitch it. You can’t send out a release and expect it to get picked up – there’s just too much competition out there; you need to pitch it. In order to pitch well, you must understand your audience.

Know your contacts. Before you can pitch a reporter anything, you need to know them. Find journalists who cover your industry and read what they’ve written. See if they have any particular angles they like best – do they prefer a human interest aspect or do they focus on news that’s happening in their community? Once you know how individuals like to write, you can write directly to them in your pitch.

Know how to reach them. These days, the inboxes of journalists are swamped. Try to reach out via Twitter or LinkedIn. Twitter is great because it forces you to write very carefully since you’re limited by characters. Ideally, your first contact with them isn’t with the intention of pitching your story. Try a friendly introduction or mention that you loved their last piece in the paper. A great tip is to pitch them a story idea that has nothing to do with your business but rather something you think would really interest them. Maybe you just discovered your favorite new coffee shop has an amazing origin story that would appeal to them. If you tell them about it, and they do a story on it, they will begin to know, like and trust you. That is a great foundation for a positive media relationship. Take your time drafting your press releases and if you value a journalist’s time, they are more likely to value yours.