What’s the difference between a media pitch and a 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agree or strongly agree with the following statement: “The way most companies share information with the media is outdated.”

Consider sending a press release, a media pitch or both, but what’s the difference, and what’s the best way to not be “outdated” in the eyes of journalists?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

6 of the best free press release services

Press releases can help your brand generate media coverage, which can help you reach your target audience that much more.

Because there’s no guarantee that your press release will result in coverage, the more journalists you can reach, the better your chances.

About 48 percent of journalists receive up to five pitches a day, while 43 percent receive more than that

While about 78 percent of journalists say that they want press releases from brands, only a handful of the pitches journalists receive are successful.

Check out our eight tips to write a press release that won’t get ignored.

Press release distribution services are a great place to enhance your reach. However, if you’re on a limited budget, the cost of some of these services might be out of reach.

The following are six of the best free press release services you should consider trying to get your message out.

PRLog

PRLog distributes press releases to a wide range of media outlets. This free service includes instant approval, but there is a limit of two press releases per day.

1888PressRelease.com

This user-friendly platform offers a range of distribution plans and features. 1888PressRelease.com also offers writing services. Keep in mind that the free plan is very limited, so you might want to take a look at the paid options.

PR.com

PR.com is a reliable distribution service. On its free plan, press releases are submitted to search engines, news sites and RSS feeds. Your distribution will be very limited, though.

NewswireToday

NewswireToday distributes press releases to news outlets and major search engines. However, the free plan includes third-party ads and only syndicates releases to RSS feeds.

Online PR Media

Online PR Media is a reputable press release distribution platform that offers both free and paid options. While it syndicates to 5,300 websites, this is only available on the more expensive plans. The free, limited option includes ads.

MarketPressRelease.com

One of the more flexible free press release distribution platforms, MarketPressRelease.com allows for one free press release per day. Their monthly paid plans allow up to 15 press releases per day, depending on the level of subscription.

In conclusion

When evaluating which free press release distribution service is right for you, consider:

  • Who your target audience is and what kind of coverage you’re looking for.
  • Which services can ultimately connect you to your target audience.
  • Any reporting features that can help you monitor the performance of your press releases.

Of course, free press release distribution services can help any small business on a tight budget. However, remember that the free version of even the best services can be extremely limited. That limitation could prevent your story from reaching the journalists who will actually be interested in covering you. 

While you may start with a free service, keep the paid options in mind so that you can possibly budget for them in the future. The time and effort you invest into your press releases should have a return on investment.

Check out our four tips to find the right journalists to cover your brand.

As you’re evaluating the best free press release distribution service for your brand, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips to create an effective media kit for your business

Does your business have a media kit? Is it doing everything it can to share your brand story?

Whether you’re looking to create your first media kit or revamp what you already have, you’re in the right place.

A media kit (also known as a press kit) is a promotional tool that highlights your company’s products, services, milestones and any relevant past work. Targeting media outlets, possible investors or even other businesses, your media kit should share everything you would want those groups to know.

Commonly, media kits are used when your business is:

  • Launching a new product or service
  • Attracting investors
  • Promoting an event
  • Opening a new location

Of course, the format of your media kit can depend on the purpose behind it. Beyond that, keep in mind that your media kit can be digital (which gives you a little more flexibility in the assets and linking you can incorporate in it) or printed.

The following are seven tips to create an effective media kit for your business.

Gather all your resources

Before you can even begin creating your media kit, you should begin gathering all your resources. Media kits can be filled with a number of different assets:

  • Documents
  • Work samples
  • Images
  • Relevant links (if creating a digital version of your media kit)
  • Testimonials
  • Statistics
  • Press releases
  • Any additional media assets

Images

When it comes to images, you want to focus on high-resolution photographs. These often are taken by a professional photographer. You’ll also want to collect professional headshots of all relevant team members who will be featured in any way in the media kit.

Testimonials

Testimonials are an excellent form of social proof. They can come from customers, other brands you’ve worked with or anyone else who can speak to the value of your brand. You’ll want to collect at least five strong testimonials.

Past work

Depending on the type of business you have, you could feature past work (such as online influencers sharing past collaborations and what posts from that generated the most traffic) or statistics that reflect your business and are up to date and detailed.

Statistics

Statistics are particularly important to potential investors. Types of statistics you can consider including:

  • Website traffic
  • Social media traffic
  • Audience demographics
  • Growth statistics

You can use various data analytics tools to pull these numbers and confirm that they are correct and up to date. Check out our nine tips to get the most out of Google Analytics.

Press releases

For the inclusion of any press releases, you can include up to three (in chronological order) in your media kit that really highlight your company’s milestones. Make sure they cover different angles and are not repetitive. Remember that press releases are ranked as the most trustworthy channel for media. Of course, if your business has any prominent media mentions, you can include that as well.

Media assets

When deciding which media assets to include in your media kit, consider what a journalist would need to write an accurate article about your business. This can include photographs, samples, infographics and more. Then, those assets should be listed in your resources section.

Optimize your introduction

First impressions are everything. You want to write a concise yet informative summary of your business as an introduction. This could include elements of your mission statement, but it doesn’t have to.

Regardless of whether your media kit is about your business as a whole or reflects a newly launched product (or something else), your introduction should still focus on what your business is about.

Keep your introduction to just one paragraph. In addition to referring to your mission statement for inspiration, you can also consider:

  • The history of the business
  • Your personal story
  • The “why” behind your business

Whatever angle you choose to take should not double up on the information you’re planning on including elsewhere in your media kit.

Of course, your logo and any relevant headshot images of founders or other team members should be paired with your introduction.

Include contact information

Your contact information might be a given in your media kit, considering its purpose. But a great place for your contact information is immediately following your introduction.

The contact information should be for whoever can be interviewed by the media. This can be the founder, a public relations representative or any relevant individual with the company.

Remember to include the contact’s:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Website URL
  • Social media handles
  • Mailing address

Include a ‘backgrounder’

A “backgrounder” is an informative document typically attached to media kits and even press releases and media advisories. It’s an opportunity to offer more information about your company or the product you’re making (or service you’re offering).

Make sure that when you’re writing your backgrounder, you stay focused. Don’t go off-topic. It can include:

  • A brief description of your business
  • The history of your business
  • Any milestones and awards
  • A description of your highlighted product, service or event (if relevant)
  • You vision and mission statement

Highlight your founders and employees

If you focused on your business in your introduction, now is the time for a brief one-page section that’s about your founder(s) and other employees. 

It’s a personal touch that can help your media kit stand out. You can mention your founder’s history, your employees’ work ethic and more. You want to humanize your business. Just make sure that you’re concise and straightforward.

Of course, you’ll want to include an image of your founder(s) and a group photo of your employees.

Proof your media kit

Once you finish your media kit, proofing is incredibly important. Ideally, you can have other team members proof and review the media kit for you. 

But at the very least, you should give a couple read-throughs with some time in between. You also can read out loud, proofread for one type of error at a time and/or print out a hard copy and mark edits in red pen.

Distribution is subtle

Once all the edits are made, make sure that you convert your media kit to PDF format for digital distribution. That way, readers cannot make any edits of their own.

But what you might not know is that distribution isn’t about bombarding various journalists with your media kit upfront. Instead, send an initial press release to media outlets that could help you reach your target audience. Then, if an outlet is interested in covering your story, you can send your full media kit.

Many businesses have their media kits available for viewing and downloading on their websites as well.

While digital media kits are popular, you might have a need for a hard copy version. Make sure that you have it professionally printed. If you cut any corners in the printing, it will show.

In conclusion

At the heart of a great, effective media kit are honesty and brevity. But before you dive in, take the time to research the media kits that other businesses have. What do you like or not like about them? You can learn a lot simply from looking at your favorite businesses. Use your takeaways to help construct your own media kit.

While you’re creating your media kit, 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.

10 tips to improve your brand’s online reputation

If you’re not keeping tabs on your brand’s online reputation, you could be shooting yourself (or at least your brand) in the foot.

An online reputation comprises various strategies to shape the world’s perception of your brand online. If handled correctly, you’re able to build brand trust and impact consumers’ purchasing decisions in a positive way. In other words, a good online reputation supports your bottom line.

Think of it as your brand’s first impression for potential customers. 

In fact, consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before trusting a business, while about 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

If you’re not on top of how your brand is perceived online, you could be losing out on customers and sales.

The following are 10 tips to improve your brand’s online reputation and put your best foot forward.

Start with an audit

Before anything else, you need to understand where your brand’s online reputation stands right now.

Thoroughly review all online reviews, and while this can feel overwhelming with so many potential places for customers to review you, keep it simple by beginning with the top four review platforms where consumers typically do their research on you:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor
  • Facebook

If you’re in a specialized industry that has an industry-specific platform for reviews, include that as well. For example, home-improvement brands will want to keep an eye on HomeAdvisor.

Of course, we encourage you to also Google your brand to see where else it might be popping up, just to cover all your bases.

Once you’ve compiled all the review platforms and reviews, double-check that all business contact details, location information and operational hours are up to date. 

Then, look at what customers are saying. What is the ratio of positive-to-negative reviews? Are there far more positive than negative? If you have multiple locations, is one location standing out in a positive or negative way? Have you responded to all reviews? 

Really assess where your brand is at perception-wise. Knowledge is power, and this information will fuel your online reputation strategies moving forward.

Keep in mind that you can set up Google Alerts to inform you of brand mentions online and more.

Decide on a review strategy and start replying

Now that you know where your customers are reviewing you and what they’re saying, it’s time to implement a review strategy for all relevant review platforms.

Perhaps you set a weekly time to regularly check for any new reviews. This would be the minimum effort we would recommend. If possible, turn on notifications wherever you can so that you can reply to all new reviews as soon as possible.

In fact, about 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to their online review within seven days.

You should respond to every review regardless of whether it’s positive, negative or neutral. And timeliness is a factor to be aware of. You’ll want to thank customers for positive reviews, but you definitely don’t want to leave a negative review festering without some sort of response.

Not sure what to say when it’s negative? Always view it as an opportunity to deliver amazing customer service and turn that experience for that customer around. (It’s definitely not the time or place to argue with the customer.) See our 11 tips to best respond to negative reviews.

Encourage happy customers to review you

Unfortunately, a customer is about 21 percent more likely to leave a negative review after a negative experience than a positive review after a positive review.

You must consistently work against that tendency by asking your happy and satisfied customers to share their experiences online. There are numerous ways to do this. Here are just a handful of ideas:

  • Offer incentives, discounts or cash rewards for customers who write reviews.
  • Send email follow-ups to customers requesting a review with a link to make it easy.
  • Have your employees remind happy customers to review you and explain the benefit that positive reviews have for your business.

Monitor all relevant social media platforms

Of course, you can’t properly manage your online reputation without a thorough plan involving social media.

First, consider all the platforms where your brand has a presence (an account, in other words). Then, think about any platforms that might be used by your customers, where they can post about you regardless of whether you have an account or not.

For example, if you only have accounts on Facebook and Instagram, that doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t tweeting about you (for better or worse) on Twitter.

You’ll need to embrace social listening, which is not just about monitoring what is being said about a business, brand, person or topic on social media. It’s also about acting on it. This can involve engaging with commenters or even adjusting brand strategy.

Learn more about social listening and how it’s different from social media crowdsourcing.

Prioritize your SEO tactics

Search engines can be a huge source of organic traffic to your website, but they also serve as research vehicles for consumers to learn more about businesses, products, services and so on.

So, your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy must be on point.

Ideally, you not only want to rank for the keywords that would help drive consumers to potentially purchase from you. You also want to rank for branded keywords that reflect your online reputation for consumers. In other words, you want your brand’s positive mentions ranking above any potential negative mentions.

And remember that blogging regularly showcases your expertise that will only benefit your online reputation, especially in search engine results.

Dive deeper into what you can do with our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners. You also can level up your SEO skills with these 10 free online SEO courses.

Develop a public relations strategy

Earned media definitely can improve your online reputation, but it can take a little extra effort. 

The extra effort involves a public relations strategy, which is all about promoting your brand’s inclusion in related articles, TV segments and more in the press.

Earned media is not to be confused with paid advertising. But leveraging press releases and connecting with local media outlets and reporters could lead to your brand earning some new coverage over time.

Work with influencers who have great online reputations

In the simplest sense, an influencer is anyone with a digital following (or audience) on a social media platform (but not necessarily) whom you’d like to attract.

The purpose of influencer marketing involves increasing brand awareness, targeting new and niche audiences and increasing impressions and reach.

This makes it a great vehicle to improve your online reputation because you’re leveraging the trust consumers have for an influence to boost your brand.

Check out our seven tips to know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Monitor customer service complaints

Even though online reviews can take a lot of your focus, don’t forget about the complaints that are being given to your company directly.

How these complaints are handled can often impact resulting online reviews, though.

Depending on the size of your business, you may need a tool, such as Invoca, to help you stay on top of a high volume of call center or customer service department interactions.

Understanding what complaints are coming in can help you fix anything that isn’t working as expected as well (and prevent future complaints).

Keep track of your competitors

While it’s important to understand your own online reputation, you can take the next step by understanding that of your competitors.

Are they receiving mostly positive or mostly negative reviews? Are they responding to them? How are they responding? What are their customers saying about them?

Find out more about what a competitive analysis is and how you can start yours, as well as 16 tools to make your competitive analysis easier.

Commit to resolve recurring issues

At the core of successful online reputation management is the commitment to resolve any recurring issues to improve your brand’s buyer experience.

Consider the information (positive and negative) that you receive from customers as a critical piece to this commitment. If you keep your customers happy, you’ll prevent many negative online reviews from even happening.

It’s no easy task, but your responsiveness will serve your business beyond just your online reputation. Think about it: How many potential customers simply disappear because of a less-than-ideal experience and never return, whether they made a purchase or not? It’s important to get ahead of the issues and continually innovate what your brand can do better.

As you begin exploring your brand’s online reputation, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.