Press Releases and What Not to Do With Them

Congratulations, you have a press release! Now, where is Anderson Cooper’s email address – it has to go out today!

Whoa, wait a second! Put the brakes on.

Yes, there might be pressure from a CEO, and yes, the your press announcement might be extremely timely, but the “getting it out to get it out” mentality doesn’t really work in the world of PR. Blasting out a release to everybody and anybody probably won’t yield many (if any) significant, quality placements. There absolutely has got to be a strategy to all of it.

See, getting your news out to media isn’t just as simple as a quick email or phone call. There are a couple of really important steps that you have to consider before sending out a release. Here is a couple of big don’ts to avoid when it comes to media outreach, so you can ensure that your announcement garners some really great coverage.

Don’t Assume Everybody Is Interested

First and foremost, you have to determine who exactly this news is targeted to. Not everybody in the world has interest in something like a new hire release or a medical announcement.

Knowing this will also will help you determine what outlets you’ll be targeting your pitches to. If you’re looking to reach the eyes and ears of hospital administrators, Vogue is probably not the publication you should be targeting, even though they have a very large audience. You need to make sure that you’re targeting media they’re already looking at. Maybe the American Journal of Public Health might be a better place to start.

Don’t Contact for Just Anybody

I’m sorry to say that Nancy Gibbs, Editor-in-Chief of TIME doesn’t really care about your new tech startup. But, Lisa Eadicicco, TIME’s Tech Correspondent just might.

If you’re interested in reaching a certain outlet, it’s important to do your research and make sure that you’re connecting with the right person, or your announcement will definitely get lost in the fold. By targeting the right people at the right outlets, you can build a new relationship with a reporter and make sure that that tech startup keeps getting good coverage.

Don’t Just Send – Pitch!

Copy and pasting the press release into the body of an email and hitting send isn’t the best method.

Work on a personalized and engaging pitch to that reporter. It can be as short as one paragraph but be sure to summarize the content of what you’re sending them and whet their whistle. Then, paste the full release that you’ve pasted in the email below.

Also, be sure to trust your instincts. If you can take a chance on a clever joke, pun or alternation (and it’s appropriate to do so), it could really pay off. Try to have fun if you can! It helps break up some of the monotony the reporter is probably receiving all day – just be sure it lands.

Don’t Pester Reporters

I can’t stress this enough, and it’s a really fine line between being proactive and being annoying.

The reality is that not every reporter you’re reaching out to is going to respond. Calling and emailing them constantly until they do could destroy a potential working relationship with a reporter – and you can bet that your email address will eventually end up in their Spam folder.

Instead, if a day or two goes by and you haven’t heard anything back, send them a follow-up email or a quick call to touch base with them.

Don’t lose track

Make sure that you’re always reporting and keeping track of everybody who you’ve pitched to, who has responded you, and who has covered the story. This helps keep track of budding relationships with reporters, and ensures that you know where and when your announcement was covered.

At Slice, we have a dedicated PR team working to make sure that our clients’ announcements and news are always properly positioned. If you have any questions about our process at Slice, or how we can help you better connect with media, shoot me an email at

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