Pitching to media: The basics of writing a press release

Making a media list

When disseminating your release, start with local media and move up to national or international outlets. Making a list of journalists with a demonstrated interest in your story’s topic is a great way to maximize your efforts while pitching. Start by finding articles about similar matters in publications that fit your brand – working from smaller media outlets towards more expansive networks. Be sure to indicate that you know whom you’re writing to (i.e., by mentioning their articles you’ve read about related topics) and why your story fits well with their publication.

Always asking: why is this newsworthy today?

You need a compelling hook and an engaging story to rise above the noise of journalists’ inboxes. So, use a pithy, captivating hook right at the start of your release and imitate the headlines used by publications you’re pitching. Of course, editors are looking for a great story, but it’s certainly a bonus if the article is already written for them.

Before writing a release, consider why your brand story matters now. Your product may be related to a more significant industry trend, or you can be covered for a feature article or as an expert with a timely opinion. If you’re a part of growing movements or trends, journalists can use your brand to comment on them – win, win!

Writing a press release is about imparting relevant facts and weaving in a story. While releases should be impartial and fact-based, it is also vital that they maintain the style and voice that sets good press releases apart from the myriad of others stacking up on journalists’ desks. They should also be concise and direct, excluding all redundant information. 

Effectively delivering your pitches

It can sometimes be challenging to tell a story engagingly while keeping a press release under a page. If there’s too much information to include and you are having trouble getting to the point of the story, an effective strategy may be to employ both in-email pitches along with a “master” press release attached. This strategy is especially effective if your press release strategy involves multiple angles targeted toward different journalists and media outlets.

Here, the hook and the engaging writing should be in the email body. Couple that with a master press release that can accompany each unique story angle, and the network will have everything they need to tell your brand story. In that release, include a couple of conscious paragraphs about your organization, details about your product or event, relevant quotes, and any other information the writer may need to tell your story. 

Writing a press release: Follow the rules of releases

The structure of a press release includes a headline, date, location, and note expressing that the story is “for immediate release.” Following these standard practices indicates to your reader that you are well-versed in press release preparation. For instance, most PR professionals attach a “– 30 –” at the end of the body of the writing. Its purpose was to indicate that the story was over, so journalists knew they weren’t missing a page in an age of hard copies and mail. While that is generally not a concern when communicating through email, following the traditional anatomy of a press release tells editors that you are experienced. 

Kipling Media Vancouver Christmas Market Media Event Visitor Taking An iPhone Video of the 2022 Mug

How To Write A Press Release For An Event

Creating Your Own Hook

Event-based companies may have an easier time getting picked up for earned media than product-based companies, seeing that events can capitalize on the popularity of found stories (local happenings) in newspapers and magazines.

But, throwing your own event/experiential activation, or participating in someone else’s, can be a great way to get in on these found stories while fostering loyalty and conversions amongst customers.

Event marketing is a promotional strategy that involves live or online events and face-to-face contact between brands and potential customers. The type of event will depend on your product or service: a beverage company might sponsor a night at a club or throw a party, while a wealth management firm may host a seminar. Events could include sponsorship, pop-up shops, conferences, trade shows, or general product activations in high-traffic areas, like beaches and parks.

While these events are all very different, they have one thing in common: they provide value to attendees. Whether it’s learning, recreation, entertainment, or just getting free stuff (a popular bonus in Kipling Media’s experience), your event is benefiting the community… somehow. And people are much more likely to use a product or service when they already know and trust the brand.

How Event Marketing can Bolster your Brand

  1. Events make it easier to get earned PR. To make an appearance in your local newspaper (without putting money behind it), you need to have or create something newsworthy. AKA, why is X company relevant right now? Couple your event with an engaging press release and email pitch; you’re ready for print. 
  2. It can foster trust amongst customers. In the age of false advertising and scam sites, people are reticent to try out products with which they aren’t familiar. Event marketing allows companies to provide value to potential customers in real-time. 
  3. It’s one of the most fun ways to market your brand. Throwing a launch party or sponsoring an event space provides entertainment for your attendees and your team.
  4. You can plan your event to drive whatever conversion you need. Whether you need a boost to your email subscribers, social media following, or traditional check-out conversions, throwing or participating in an event is an excellent way to accomplish your goal. Say, for instance, you want to increase your Instagram following. You could offer visitors free products at your pop-up shop if they follow your account or share it with their audience. Or, you could offer a bigger prize to one winner.

Kipling Media Vancouver Christmas Market Media Event Visitor Taking Photos of the speakers at the event

How To Write A Press Release For An Event: Wrapping Up

Over time, you’ll perfect your press release writing skills and foster a network of “friendlies” in the journalism community who will run your stories. In turn, you’ll get lots of brand awareness and shape public perception of your business. Of course, the goal is to get your company news in the large national broadcast networks, but also consider the local, friends-and-family style blogs and papers. The more your story is told, the more discoverable your website becomes on search engines and the more clicks you get. In other words, the more buzz, the better.

Have more questions about event public relations or how to write a press release? Contact us! Our PR team is happy to help craft your strategy and get your brand in front of the right people.