1) The early bird catches the worm.
For print news outlets, sell in around 8.30am, before the news conference at 9.30ish. This gives editors the chance to digest your release, and if they like it, take it into conference. Don’t go later – and don’t go much earlier, or your release might get overlooked. NB online news desks have different conference times.
2) Send through a standard ‘pyramid’ release – with all the key info at the start.
Don’t save/ hide your most newsworthy elements for the middle or end of the release – the news editor will have seconds to decide if they want to read on or bin your copy. Grab attention from the outset so they want to read on.
3) Shoot the story over by email – and do not chase.
News desks receive literally hundreds of emails and phone calls a day from PRs, as well as working through their assigned daily stories and workloads, so they don’t have time to chat to you on the phone, or give feedback on your story. Shoot the story over by email – and do not chase or you’ll end up being blacklisted.
4) News desks hate embargoes.
They need stories they can set up for the next day (print) or put out that day (online). If you send them a release with an embargo date for several days in the future, it might go straight in the bin.
5) Avoid at all costs making your release look like a PR release or advertorial.
Unless it’s a business story – facts about the business, e.g. acquisitions, mergers – try to avoid using brand logos, and reams of notes to the editor. Write the release as news copy – just like you’d see it written up in the paper. This will go down infinitely better with a news editor than a PR release from which they have to pluck interesting info, and get written up.