Ch. 14- News Releases, Media Alerts, and Pitch Letters

19 Nov

Text: Public Relations Strategies and Tactics-9th Edition-Wilcox, D. & Cameron, G.

News release (aka press release) continues to be the most commonly used PR tactic

Basically, a news release is a simple document whose primary purpose is the dissemination of information to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines

Content of a News Release

Use the inverted pyramid structure with the first paragraph summarizing the most important parts of the story and the succeeding paragraphs to fill in the details descending in order of importance

3 Reasons to Use Inverted Pyramid:

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

Other guidelines:

  • Double-check information and spell-check
  • Eliminate boldface and CAPITAL LETTERS
  • Include organization and background
  • Localize whenever possible. More news releases get published when they are written from a local angle

Publicity Photos

Often accompany news releases to make a story more appealing

Mat Releases

  • A mat release is a form of the news release, except primarily with a feature angle, instead of hard news
  • Concept is to provide helpful consumer information and tips about a variety of subjects in an informative way
  • These appear in the food, travel, automotive, and business sections of a newspaper

Media Alerts and Fact Sheets

  • Media alerts (aka media advisories)- let journalists know about an upcoming event such as a news conference or photo interview opportunities
  • Fact sheets-give additional background information about the product, person or event

Media Kits

  • Media kit (aka press kit)- is usually prepared for major events and products launches. It is typically a folder containing news releases, photos, fact sheets, and features about a new product, an event, or other newsworht projects

Pitch Letters

  • Pitch- when public relations practitioners and publicists write a short letter or note to the editor that tries to grab their attention
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