When a news release is NOT necessary

I was talking to a new communications professional the other day about two news story ideas involving the company where she works. One possible story was about a special event her company was planning to hold. Her other topic was “family-owned companies where fathers and daughters work together.” Both are potentially newsworthy topics, I told her, especially with Father’s Day coming up soon. But there is a crucial difference.

The first story (the special event) definitely warranted a news release or maybe just a media advisory (I’ll talk about media advisories in a future blog and how they differ from news releases).

However, the second topic (family-owned businesses involving fathers and daughters) was definitely not in need of a news release. Instead, I told her, just pick up the phone and pitch the reporter the story. This type of general topic is harder to make the focus of a news release. The reporter (if he or she is any good) would want to interview not only the person pitching the story, but also a number of other families where a father and daughter work together.

That’s why a phone pitch would work. If you can get a reporter interested in the story topic, you can save yourself the time and effort of writing a news release.

Let the reporter write the story. You provide the reporter the interview topic, the people to interview and maybe even the names of other companies you know that he or she can interview to flesh out the story.

The end result is the news coverage you were seeking in the first place. And if the reporter writes the story, it’s possible you’ll get an even bigger placement than if you had written a news release.

So when you have a potential news story, before you start hammering out a news release, ask yourself first: do I even need to write one word or can I obtain the news placement I seek by just picking up the phone (or sending an email) and pitching a reporter?

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