Step #1: Don’t write the release.
Public relations has changed a lot since I (Kim) started my career, with digital becoming integral in the process of earning media. In fact, a press release isn’t needed in multiple situations. 834 best serves our clients by building relationships with reporters whether local, statewide, national or international. It takes a lot more work than throwing together a release in the upside down pyramid format (students know what I am talking about) and the results speak for themselves.
Step #2: Don’t send a mass email.
There is nothing the media hates more than receiving the same pitch/email as 100 of their colleagues. They especially love it when you include everyone’s email in the ‘To:’ instead of BCC’ing. Every reporter covers stories that are relevant to their publication and area of interest, such as construction, manufacturing, retail, development etc. If you do your homework, you know this and you reach out to that reporter via email, Twitter or LinkedIn and send them the story that is of interest to them.
Step #3: Don’t make an intern follow-up.
If you are following up on a pitch or release you sent, don’t make a poor intern do the follow-up call. They don’t have the history of the story or the comfort level to talk to a reporter. If the story is that important you will find the time to do it yourself.
If you follow these 3 simple steps, you will have better success than mass emailing a generic press release to a bunch of reporters that have now added you to their spam list. I also hope this is a given, but don’t fax it either. Do people even use fax machines anymore?