The Media Ignored My Press Release. Now What?

By: Rachel Bonello

As public relations and marketing professionals, we build our careers around finding the right contacts at the right publications to pitch the perfect topic. Our clients depend on us to share their message with our target audiences, and with that comes a great deal of responsibility to secure stellar and consistent coverage via press release.

So, you researched the right contacts, drafted a beautifully crafted press release, delivered it out and…nothing happens. No responses, no phone calls and no placements. What could have possibly gone wrong? See below for our top five reasons why your press release might have been ignored:

Wrong Media Contact

It isn’t enough to skim a media database for a contact and pick a reporter based on their publication or beat. Do your due diligence and research the reporter before reaching out to guarantee that person is indeed the proper contact. First make sure that a.) they still work at said publication, b.) they are still writing about the same beat and c.) you are reading up on their recent work. Nothing annoys a reporter more than being pitched on a topic that they aren’t designated to write about!

No Photo

We live in a very visual and digital world today (thank you social media). It is imperative that your release has a photo, video or eye-catching element to go with your content. Many, if not most, publications will no longer take a release without a photo. It helps to educate your clients or staff with this information beforehand so it becomes second nature to provide a photo with a press release.

Horrible Subject Line

I can’t tell you how many reporters have told me that if the subject line is too long, confusing, or unexciting, they will immediately delete the email—without even reading the press release! Try to keep your subject line under 35 characters so it fits within the max subject line designated. That way, when the reporter scrolls through the 100’s of emails in his or her inbox, your full subject line is visible and eye-catching from the get-go. Don’t forget to use a buzzword, statistic or catchy phrase as well.

Lack of Punch

It isn’t enough to get all the bare bone facts in a release and call it done. There must be an engaging narrative to get the reporter excited and willing to cover your release. Dig deeper into your announcements to find those interesting nuggets of information to add some color to your release past the typical who, what, when, where and why.

Follow up!

In a lot of cases, reporters can’t catch every great press release that graces their cluttered inbox on a day-to-day basis. It is imperative to follow up to confirm they received the release and had a chance to consider using the information you presented. However, keep in mind there is a difference between classy follow-ups (one to two times) and just plain annoying follow-ups (three +). Some reporters prefer following up via email, some prefer via phone calls and some won’t reply either way. Proceed with caution and just remember to be respectful of the reporter’s time, deadlines and preference.

A pretty easy process, right? Wrong. To research the right contacts, draft a beautifully crafted press release with punch, and deliver it out to the right media contacts and publications takes more TLC than you can image. By following these trusty tips, your next press release will be more likely to catch the eye of the right reporter!