What’s the difference between a media pitch and a press release?

media-pitch-press-release

When you have news to announce about your brand, you’re likely wanting to share it with the media as well.

It could be a product launch, company announcement, upcoming event or something else. But regardless of what the news is, you should consider getting your information out in a way that resonates with journalists and reaches your intended audience.

In a recent survey, about 61 percent of journalists either agree or strongly agree with the following statement: “The way most companies share information with the media is outdated.”

Consider sending a press release, a media pitch or both, but what’s the difference, and what’s the best way to not be “outdated” in the eyes of journalists? 

Press release versus media pitch

No matter what, the ultimate goal is that the media covers your story. So, knowing when to use a press release and when to use a media pitch is critical to achieving that goal.

Press releases

In the simplest sense, a press release is a news story written by a public relations professional and sent to targeted members of the media. Typical elements include:

  • Headline
  • Subheadline
  • Dateline
  • Lead sentence with the most important information up front
  • Body text that expands on the news
  • Quotes from representatives of your brand or other relevant individuals
  • Company boilerplate
  • Contact information

A press release typically consists of one to two pages and includes all of the “five Ws,” which are the who, what, when, where and why of your news. It should be easy enough for a journalist to repurpose into a news story, where he or she can reach out with any follow-up questions.

Press releases can be more broadly written as they’re sent to multiple journalists directly and/or through a PR wire service.

Media pitches

On the other hand, a media pitch is the personalized outreach that you send to journalists in hopes of compelling them to cover your story. This typically is done in the form of a short, concise email. About 91 percent of journalists prefer that media pitches are 200 words or less. It can include an attachment of the press release with it, though, if it makes sense to do so. Traditional media pitch elements include:

  • Compelling subject line
  • Personalized greeting to the journalist
  • About two to four sentences explaining the story idea
  • Call to action, which is what you are hoping the journalist will do

About 94 percent of journalists prefer media pitches over press releases. This is because pitches are personalized and show that you understand what a particular journalist covers and why he or she might be interested in covering your news. You want to make sure you convey how this story idea is relevant for the journalist’s audience.

Of course, media pitches (just like press releases) are your first impression on a journalist. They can make or break your chances of getting media coverage. 

But a press release aims to communicate exactly what happened or will be happening, while a media pitch explains why a story angle or event is newsworthy and deserves coverage from a particular journalist. 

When to use a press release

There will be times when it is best to send out a press release, such as when:

  • Your news requires more explanation and detail than you can fit into 200 words.
  • You have important news to share with a large number of journalists.
  • You prefer to have a formal piece of writing that can be added to your website or elsewhere.
  • A journalist requests more information after responding positively to a media pitch.

When to use a media pitch

There also are times when it is best to send a media pitch, such as when you have a story idea intended for a specific journalist, where you can clearly explain why the pitch is for that journalist and his or her audience. 

It’s all about personalization and specificity. Journalists definitely appreciate that.

In conclusion

When deciding between sending a press release or a media pitch, remember their purpose and your ultimate media goal. Of course, as mentioned before, the two can work together, where a media pitch directs to a press release with more information.

Make sure that regardless of what you’re sending, you are:

  • Reaching out to the right journalists.
  • Using email to distribute your pitch or release
  • Always using a compelling subject line
  • Being concise (even in press releases)

While you’re evaluating your best opportunities for media pitches and press releases, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

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