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#PR: A PR Pitch Journalists Will Love
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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How hard is it to craft and write a press release journalists simply “have” to print? Some would contend, “It’s almost impossible; well, if it’s not impossible, it is certainly not easy.”

Actually, reality could not be further from that argument than New York City is from the South Pole.

According to Reg Rowe, founder of GrayHairPR, who recently was quoted by Richard Brownell in a blog piece he contributed to PR News, the secret lies in learning to think like a journalist. So, if we are to think and write as if we were all reporters or journalists, what are the things they love to see in any story?

Rowe says there are four main elements or “rules” to crafting an “irresistible” press release that “grabs a reporter’s attention and ultimately leads to sharing your brand’s message with a wide audience. The reporter you send your release to needs to be compelled by what you have written. They need to care about your story enough to want to report on it and give you the coverage you seek.”

Rowe’s writing rules, as Brownell mentioned in his piece, are:

1. Topicality.
Simply put, how relevant, how timely, how interesting, and how important is your press release to current happenings? If it isn’t topical, Rowe says, journalists will most likely circular file it.

2. Conflict.
Again, putting it simply, journalists love drama and conflict. If your press release talks about how a customer, whether branded with instant recognition (like VW — which, by the way, is currently undergoing some conflict) or not, overcame a problem. What was the problem your product or brand or company faced and how was it solved? What was the challenge your company was given by one of your major clients and how did you work with that client to resolve it?

3. Location.
While newspapers and newcasts no longer draw the audiences they used to, they are still important sources of local news and information for people. Therefore, your press release should try to reflect how its topic will affect your readers, their families, and their neighbors.

4. Human Interest.
Simply put, make your story as real as possible. Put people in the press release who can talk about the conflict or problem and show how the issue was successfully resolved. People love reading about how other people overcame challenges and moved forward. Your readers, viewers, and listeners will love it when you’ve done that and will remember your story long afterwards if it is done right.

By the way, PR News is offering a writing workshop on October 26 in New York City for any flacks wishing to learn how to become better at PR writing.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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