What Motivates a Journalist to Cover a Press Release?

A press release is often designed specifically to grab media attention. Sure, there are other goals and motivations to write a press release. However, if the media writes a story about your business, the coverage can take you to a whole new level. In fact, even something as simple as getting local coverage can grow to national coverage with enough momentum.

You know that the job of a press release is to snag the attention of a journalist, but what actually motivates a journalist to cover a press release and take action based on the information you provide?

A Unique Approach

Let’s be honest and say that journalists receive hundreds of press releases each week. They also are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, on the news wires. So what grabs their attention? If the press release has a unique approach to the information being provided then that can make a journalist take notice. Now a unique approach doesn’t mean a promotional approach or a gimmick, it means that you’re approaching the information in a different way. Look for opportunities to be provocative or controversial.

Audience Appeal

Journalists have an audience. They have people that they write for and when they’re looking for stories, so they are ultimately looking for information that will appeal to their audience. This should tell you that you cannot please all media representatives, and it’s futile to try. Focus on appealing to those who write for your industry or audience. What types of stories would their audience find interesting, informative or valuable?

Real Information

A press release that contains relevant and up-to-date information will often get a second glance from a journalist. Too often the information in a press release isn’t helpful to the journalist. It’s not relevant to their audience, nor does it support the point of the release. Make sure that all facts and data in your release are interesting, valuable, and relevant to your story and your audience.

Good Quotes

A good quote can be the key sentence that makes a journalist run with a story. Make sure the quotes in your press release are not only relevant to the material, but also that they are fresh, interesting, and have a strong voice.

Finally, a journalist simply will not cover a press release if there is no contact information. It may sound simple, but too many people forget to put contact information in their press releases. Make sure that you not only have a call to action and links to your website, but also a contact person and a few ways to connect with that person. A journalist needs to be able to ask questions and dig for more information.

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