Chapter 14: News Releases, Media Alerts, and Pitch Letters

News Releases: Simple document whose main purpose is the dissemination of information to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines.

Lisa Barbadora, director of public relations and marketing for Schubert Communications, gives tips for “news-centered” releases:

  • Use short headlines and subheads to highlight main points and pique interest.
  • Don’t use generic words such as “world-class” to position your company.
  • Tell the news.
  • Don’t use lame quotes.
  • Follow the Associated Press Stylebook and specific publications’ editorial standards for dates, technical terms, abbreviations, etc.

A few questions should be answered to give the news release direction:

  1. What is the key message?
  2. Who is the primary audience for the release?
  3. What does the target audience gain from the product or service?
  4. What objective does the release serve?

Three reasons why you should use the inverted pyramid structure in a news release:

  1. If the editor doesn’t find anything interesting in the first 3 or 4 lines, it won’t be used.
  2. Editors cut stories from the bottom.
  3. Readers don’t always read the full story.

Media Alerts: Memos used to let the media know about an interview opportunity with a visiting expert or alert them that a local person will be featured on a network t.v. program.

Fact Sheets: Distributed to the media as part of a media kit or with a news release to give additional background information about the product, person or event.

Media Kits: Prepared for major events and new product launches.  The basic elements are:

  • The main news release
  • A news feature about the development of the product
  • Fact sheets on the product
  • Background information
  • Photos and drawings with captions
  • Biographical material on the spokesperson
  • Basic brochures

Pitch Letters: A short letter or note to the editor that tries to grab their attention. 

This information was taken from the book  Public Relations Strategies and Tactics, Ninth Edition by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron.

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Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 12:58 am  Leave a Comment  

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