Reporters get lots of email. Dozens if not hundreds a day.
Imagine what it is like to sort through these all day long, then picking out a few to pursue for print or on-air use.
Your email needs to stand out. Here are three things you can do to make your emails more impactful and give you a better chance of generating media coverage.
1. Make it News Worthy.
Sounds simple but how many news releases look-alike and read alike.
Typical headline… Jumbo Burger to Open on Main Street
Better headline… Fast Growing Restaurant Chain Jumbo Burger Coming to Davisville at XXXX Main Street; Will Serve Some of the Largest Burgers in all of Missouri (yes, we measured them); Opening Set for XXXX Large Crowd Expected for First Day
Consider the news hooks. The first example will raise a few eyebrows, “Oh good a new burger joint is coming to town”.
Unless the chain is extremely well-known chances are it will get a little mention in the back of the daily paper or business journal and probably no TV coverage.
The second one creates lots of excitement with lots of visual opportunities (think TV and multimedia).
“Wow a new big chain is coming here with lots of huge burgers. They measured and weighed them, we can show that in a photo in print or a part of a TV story.”
“We also better think about getting a camera crew down to the opening if they are expecting a really big turnout.” And more…
“Maybe we can get a few sound bites (pardon the pun) with the owner before the opening.”
2. Tailor It to the Medium.
In most cases a headline for a newspaper, magazine or trade journal should differ than one that is being sent to a television news desk.
A business to business type company may not have a lot of good visuals or be appropriate for any type of TV news coverage.
Their headline could have more statistics or talk more about the industry problem they solve. This can engage the editor of the trade journal but would not be appropriate for television.
Conversely, a business to consumer type firm, can stage an event or do something that benefits the community. This lends itself to more action and some prime visual opportunities if the message is written in the proper manner.
3. Keep It Brief.
The headline is just that, a headline. It is not the entire news release. Too many words will mess up the subject box.
If the pitch is too wordy and rambles on, chances are a reporter will delete it or it will end up in the junk file.
As the second headline in the Jumbo Burger example indicates, you can write something with a little length if it has impact and stays on point.
A good headline should be written well enough to excite the producer or writer. It should help steer them into the body of the new release and prompt them to ask for more, providing a much better chance your story will receive the attention it deserves.