"Why didn't my press release get published?"
That is a question that marketing professionals ask when their brilliantly crafted press release ends up getting ignored.
The answer is simple. Media gatekeepers don't care about your work because they don't think their audience will.
A press release must be timely and relevant to make the cut. The larger the audience of the media outlet, the higher that bar is. However, if you can get the attention of a gatekeeper and hold it long enough, you have about ten seconds to make your case. Use them wisely.
Do these 8 things so you won't have to ask why my press release didn't get published.
1. Grab them with the subject line. Company growth, especially jobs, are always news. "(company) to grow by 200 jobs" or "(company to invest in $1 million expansion" will get the attention you want. If you have big news, get it into the subject line. Think of how you handle your own e-mail inbox. Spam is identified and deleted without hesitation. If the subject line reads "Press Release" or "Interview Opportunity", or even worse, is blank, it will be deleted.
2. Repeat your big news in the opening sentence. Again, you are writing for attention, not publication. If the gatekeeper opens your e-mail, they will scan it for about ten seconds while they assess its relevance compared to everything else on their plate. Make them want to eat.
3. Put the contact information near the top. If the news is big enough, the media outlet will want to contact you for more information. Don't make them hunt for your phone number.
4. Write it for publication. Newspapers and internet content is written for the eye, not the ear. If you write your press release in AP style and it flows well, you may get lucky and a busy editor at a smaller publication or website may just publish it as is. The more work the person has to put in to make it publishable, the less likely this is to happen, so watch your writing style.
5. Know your media outlet. Are you submitting to a general media outlet with a diverse audience? Then your press release should be more general as well. Concentrate on economic impact or how the new information will benefit as much of the audience as possible. If you are submitting to a website or blog that closely follows your industry, then be specific as to why that smaller but more expert audience should care. Knowing how to target your submissions saves you time and allows you to consider who you are talking to and why.
6. Know their audience. Whether it is a regional media outlet or a specialty blog you are trying to appeal to, gatekeepers know who their audience is. You should too. Gatekeepers are looking for content to appeal to their specific audience. If you can demonstrate that you are thinking along those lines as well, you will gain credibility in the eyes of the gatekeepers.
7. Remember who you are trying to convince. Gatekeepers do not view your work with the same importance as you do. They don't care why your boss told you to write the press release. They don't feel the same sense of company pride that you do. Keep in mind that you are starting at square one with people who have many others competing for their attention.
8. Leave the flowers at home. Watch your adjectives. "fantastic", "groundbreaking", "best ever"...gatekeepers constantly hear them all and they ignore them. Impress them with facts, not flowers.
The bottom line is this: If you put yourself in the gatekeeper's shoes and give them something factual and relevant, you have a better chance of developing a mutually beneficial relationship with someone who is overworked and grateful for your help. If you don't, you will develop a one-way relationship with their delete button.
Thanks to our good friend Wayne Gates, Managing Editor Clermont Sun Publishing Company for sharing these great tips.