Pitch vs. Press Release: What’s the Difference?

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Have some news about your company? Do you have a new product coming out? What about some new services? You might be thinking that now is a great time to write a press release about the goings-on at your place of business. However, not all news requires a press release and more often than not, your news doesn’t warrant a formal press release.

 

girl shrugging with palms upSo what’s a savvy business owner to do? Consider writing a pitch to the media.

What is a Media Pitch?

A media pitch is a communication, often in the form of an email, a phone call, or a direct message, that aims to persuade journalists, editors, producers, or other media professionals to cover a specific story, topic, or event. It’s a tool used by public relations professionals, companies, or individuals to generate media coverage and draw attention to a particular subject.

What is a Press Release?

A press release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something newsworthy. Typically, they are emailed using a press release distribution service like eReleases.com, mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, and/or television networks.

What is the Difference Between a Media Pitch and a Press Release?

Media pitches and press releases are both tools used in public relations to communicate with the media, but they serve different purposes and are structured differently.

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A pitch is different from a press release in that it’s a persuasive letter written to see if a journalist/blogger will write a story, cover an event, etc. A press release, on the other hand, is an unbiased account, written in a specific format, of something newsworthy like a special event or promotion.

Here’s more details on media pitches and press releases to help you choose and structure each of them in the most effective ways.

Media Pitch:

Purpose: A media pitch is a short, personalized message sent to a journalist or media outlet to pique their interest in a story and encourage them to cover it.

Structure: It is usually concise and direct, highlighting the key points of the story and explaining why it would be of interest to the journalist’s audience. It may also include a call to action, such as asking for an interview or offering additional information.

Personalization: Media pitches are often tailored to the specific journalist or media outlet, demonstrating that the sender has done their research and understands the recipient’s beat and audience.

Timing: Pitches are often sent out in advance of an event or news announcement, giving the journalist time to consider the story and respond.

Press Release:

Purpose: A press release is an official statement issued to the media to provide information, make an announcement, or respond to a situation.

Structure: It is usually more formal and comprehensive than a media pitch, following a standard format that includes a headline, dateline, introduction, body paragraphs, quotes, and contact information.

Distribution: Press releases are often distributed to a wide audience through newswires or press release distribution services, in addition to being sent directly to specific journalists or media outlets.

Content: They typically provide all the necessary information and context for a journalist to write a story, including quotes and multimedia assets.

While a media pitch is a personalized, concise message designed to grab a journalist’s attention and encourage them to cover a story, a press release is a formal, comprehensive statement that provides all the information needed to write a story. Media pitches are often used to promote stories that may not be covered otherwise, while press releases are used to make official announcements and provide information on the record.

More Differences Between Pitches and Press Releases

Let’s take a look at a few other ways that pitches and press releases differ and how you should use them in your work.

    Press Releases Tell The Whole Story

    A press release gives all the details about your news, like the who, what, when, where, and why. A media pitch, however, is just a teaser. It reveals only a few details about your product demonstration, new service, or whatever new thing you have going at your business. A good press release can be published as is, while a media pitch cannot.

    Media Pitches Generate Some Interest

    A well-crafted press release with all the details and some great quotes will get interest from journalists (because you made their job easier!) You can consider a media pitch to be more like the cover letter to a resume, you want the journalist or blogger to pick your story so you put in enough detail to whet their appetite.

Elements of an Effective Press Release

A good press release will have a great headline, a lead sentence that includes the most important information, quotes, a boilerplate, and contact information.
Here are the key components of a press release:

  1. Headline:
    A brief, clear, and attention-grabbing statement summarizing the news.
  2. Dateline:
    The location and date of the press release.
  3. Introduction:
    The first paragraph that answers the “5 Ws” – who, what, where, when, and why.
  4. Body:
    The main content of the press release, providing detailed information, background, statistics, or other relevant details.
  5. Boilerplate:
    A short “about us” section, providing information about the company or organization issuing the press release.
  6. Contact Information:
    Details on how to get in touch with the press contact, including name, phone number, and email address.

Remember that the goal of a press release is to pique the interest of a journalist or publication. The press release should contain all the information needed to generate a news story, making it easier for media professionals to cover.

It’s worth noting that while press releases are a common PR tool, their effectiveness can depend on various factors including the newsworthiness of the announcement, the timing of the release, the number of targeted media members it is sent to, and the distribution channels used.

Tips for an Effective Press Release
Creating a successful press release requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you craft an effective press release:

  1. Start with a Newsworthy Topic: Ensure your press release is centered around a topic that is genuinely interesting, important, or relevant to the journalist’s target audience.
  2. Craft a Compelling Headline: Your headline should grab attention and clearly convey the main point of the release.
  3. Keep it Concise: Journalists are busy; make your point as succinctly as possible without leaving out essential information.
  4. Use the Inverted Pyramid Style: Place the most important information at the beginning, followed by supporting details, and background information at the end.
  5. Distribute Effectively: Use a press release distribution service such as the one offered by eReleases.com to get your press release into the hands of the journalists most likely to be interested in running your press release or writing their own feature story.

By following these tips, you can increase the chances of your press release capturing the attention of journalists and achieving your communication goals.

Elements of an Effective Media Pitch

A media pitch should include some details what the product/service is or who the person is (if you are writing a pitch about a person), why the reader should care and where to get more information. You can also use a pitch to comment on industry news or a new trend in your area. You will want to give the writer some reasons why they should pick you for a comment, like your expertise in the field. You can also give them some indication of how you would answer questions if asked for an interview.
Here are the key components of an effective media pitch:

  1. Subject Line (for email pitches):
    It should be compelling and concise, aiming to grab the attention of the recipient.

    Example: “Exclusive Interview Opportunity with Innovative Tech CEO

  2. Personalization:
    Address the recipient by name and show that you’ve done your research about their work and the outlet they represent.

    Example: “Hi [Name], I’ve enjoyed your recent pieces on sustainable technologies and thought you might be interested in…

  3. Introduction:
    Briefly introduce yourself and your organization.

    Example: “My name is [Your Name], and I’m the communications director at [Your Company].

  4. Pitch:
    Clearly and concisely present the story, event, or topic you want to be covered.
    Highlight why it’s relevant, newsworthy, or of interest to the recipient’s audience.

    Example: “We are launching a groundbreaking new product that…

  5. Unique Angle or Hook:
    Provide a compelling reason why this story stands out and why it should be covered now.

    Example: “This innovation is the first of its kind and has the potential to…

  6. Supporting Information:
    Include any additional information, statistics, or quotes that bolster your pitch.

    Example: “According to recent studies, this technology could…

  7. Call to Action:
    Clearly state what you are hoping the recipient will do next.

    Example: “I’d love to arrange an interview with our CEO or provide more information if needed. Could we schedule a time to discuss this further?

  8. Contact Information:
    Ensure your email signature or message includes your full contact information.

    Example: “Best, [Your Name], [Your Title], [Your Company], [Your Phone Number], [Your Email Address]

  9. Follow-Up:
    If you don’t get a response within a week or so, it’s appropriate to send a polite follow-up email.

Tips for an Effective Media Pitch:

  1. Keep it Short and Sweet: Journalists are often very busy, so get to the point quickly.
  2. Be Relevant: Make sure your pitch is relevant to the recipient’s beat or area of interest.
  3. Timing is Key: Consider the timing of your pitch and how it relates to current news cycles or events.
  4. Be Authentic: Avoid sounding overly promotional; focus on the story and why it matters.
  5. Use Multimedia: Including images, videos, or links can enhance your pitch, but make sure they are relevant and add value.

Crafting an effective media pitch requires understanding the journalist(s) you are pitching, clarity in communication, and a compelling story or angle. When done right, it can lead to valuable media coverage and help build relationships with media professionals.

Effective PR Strategies Should Include Both Media Pitches and Press Releases

Both pitches and press releases have advantages and should be included in an overall marketing strategy. By keeping your press releases solely for newsworthy items, you respect the journalist’s time and stay on their good side.

Remember to offer media pitches in a timely fashion so that when a topic is trending, the media knows who to contact.

Have some tips about writing a pitch? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (https://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download Five (5) Free PR and Press Release eBooks ($67 Value) here: https://www.ereleases.com/free-offer/pr-bonus-5-free-ebooks/

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