For our latest Take 5 Live, we sat down with Sarah Paynter (you may remember her from our State of the Media Live event earlier this year) of Yahoo! Finance to discuss the importance of pitching and press releases.
1. Send resources appropriate to the moment
If you're really on top of the news cycle and pitching a journalist, be sure to send resources that could help a reporter who is putting together a story on a tight timeline.
Also be mindful of the potential for follow-ups in any of the resources you're sending; do links expire? A journalist might not have time to reach back out in the future if they're writing a follow-up on a tight timeline, but if you keep extended access in mind with your initial pitch that could help you get featured in the future.
2. Concentrate on headlines and first sentences
A concise, straight-forward headline and first sentences in a pitch help a journalist know what what it's about and if it's relevant to what they're working on. Think of your email headlines like SEO; be sure the keywords you need are present and not buried in a lot of other content. (They might be searching their inbox to surface something after initially reading it.)
3. Send press releases at off-times to stand out
In our 2020 State of the Press Release report, we found that the majority of press releases are sent at 8am ET on Tuesdays and also in any 15 minute increments on the hour. To stand out, send at an off-time like 10:17 or 10:43. (Don't send too late in the day or journalists are more likely to be engaged in drafting to meet deadlines.)
Also consider adding multimedia to your press release; that helps journalists put together a richer story and generates more overall engagement, per our findings.