A media pitch and a press release are two very different things. Although they both fall under the umbrella of public relations, they serve two different purposes. One is more focused on providing a reporter with everything they need to write a story and sharing company news. The other’s goal is to intrigue a reporter with an idea that could turn into a written feature.
Let’s look a little deeper at the difference between a media pitch and a press release and talk about what your company should be sending and when.
Defining A Pitch
Pitches are focused on the outreach side of public relations. A pitch is an “idea” sent to a journalist with the goal of getting them to interview you or write a story about your recommended topic using your expertise. Media pitches can be a way for business owners to show their authority in the industry by commenting on a current event or trend. Although you may have the ability to talk about how your business is making an impact or responding to this trend, landing a story is an opportunity to do more than just promote. These wins can build your individual authority and position your business as the leader in your industry.
To win PR coverage, your pitch should:
- Be short and concise. Get to the point quickly but simplify your message and explain why this idea is relevant to the journalist’s audience. Don’t forget to drop in an eye-catching subject line to capture their attention right away.
- Be personalized. Do not send a copy and pasted message to journalists. One size does not fit all when it comes to the media. Tailor your message to address the journalists’ beat and the needs of their audiences.
Defining a Press Release
Press releases are written announcements of some newsworthy event about your company. This could be things like new leadership, a recap of fundraising dollars from events, openings of new locations, etc.
Press releases include all the major details reporters need to craft a story without necessarily needing to reach out to a business owner for an interview. Press releases contain stats, quotes, contact information, and digital assets like photos or videos. An effective press release will:
- Quickly communicate the news within the first paragraph. Journalists will unlikely spend time reading your entire release if it doesn’t get to the point fast. Avoid a long introduction and focus on the who, what, when, where, and why.
- Add context to your news. The first question a reporter will ask when receiving a press release is, “so what?” Make your announcement more interesting by sharing stats or figures in the context of your news and explain how this will impact more than just your business.
Which Should Your Business Use?
Stories secured from media pitches and press release pick-ups can both be great for your business. You can gain SEO wins from story features or uploads of your press release when these stories link back to your company website. You can also earn some clout on social media as readers are sharing your article. Determining whether you need a press release or should instead pitch a writer depends on your news and your goal.
If your goal is to make an announcement or talk about what your business is doing, press releases generally work best. If your goal is to grow your thought leadership and authority in your market, pitching journalists may work better. Your media pitch really is an attempt to persuade a writer to create a story featuring you while a press release provides the whole story about your company.
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