press pressrelease How to Pitch to Bloggers, Part OneAs a full-time freelance professional writer, I am pitched story ideas daily. Sadly, a lot of them are forgettable — or worse, difficult to decipher. Any time that you pitch your company to a blogger or reporter, it is your job to make sure it is easy to disseminate. That means providing clear information and background resources. The less work we have to do to find your story, the more likely we are to cover it.

Let’s first talk about releases.

Somewhere along the line, the flashy news/press release was encouraged among public relations professionals. The idea was to discern your company’s story from the next boring release through glittery language and attention-grabbing headlines. But in reality, what it often means is that I have to wade through more garbage to get to your company’s actual information.

Personally, I don’t believe in publishing straight press releases; however, many do. If well written, it is an excellent use of a reporter or blogger’s time. But that also means that you need to skip the flash and sparkle and go with what is important.

The structure of your news release

When you send out a release about an event — and I can’t stress this enough — post the date in the body of your email in a clear way.

A friend and colleague of mine sends out beautiful, clear and concise releases. If everyone took the time to organize their information like this, my job would be so much easier. Her information provides the answers to every journalist’s first questions — right in plain sight.

Please observe, copy, paste and re-use every time you send out a news release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DATE

Press Contact: Full name, Title

Phone:

Email:

Release is attached as a PDF for your convenience.

TITLE OF EVENT, CENTERED AND IN ALL CAPS

WHAT: Name of event

WHERE: Venue and address

WHEN: Day of the week, date and time

COST:

INFO: Phone number, email/website

The body of her news release with full details follows.

Attachments

Please post your information IN THE BODY OF YOUR EMAIL.

A local organization sends out releases like this regularly.

The latest release from XX Company is attached.

Ugh. This just hurts me. Not only do I not know what news your organization has — now I don’t care! You’ve given me no reason to go through the trouble to open your attachment. Even the subject line is detail-less.

Now, some of you may have noticed that in my colleague’s release above, she offers a PDF attachment in her email. This inclusion is appropriate, as there may be some people who still print these items.

However, I recommend reserving attachments for web-ready artwork, including logos and relevant photos that you own.

What does web-ready mean? Your logo should be in a readable format. Jpegs are particularly everyone-friendly, and the size should be “shareable.” You want something large enough to view easily but not so big that your blogger has to re-size it significantly to make it fit in his or her post.

Please don’t send vector art, Photoshop, Publisher, PowerPoint or other similar files.

For photographs, the same goes. And if you think it’s okay to send a photo in a Word document, it’s time to turn off the internet machine now and get back to your Ensure and Werther’s Originals.

Now, all of the above can be applied to most media, particularly print.

Tomorrow I’ll offer tips a bit more specific to pitching bloggers effectively, particularly in how you approach them.

What types of news releases have you sent or received, and which ones were most effective?