3 Clutter-Busting Tips for Your Press Releases and Email Pitches

Communicators have far more tools to relay their messages to journalists than they did 10 years ago. The problem is journalists and bloggers also have more tools to receive those messages. So in a way, technology hasn’t changed anything—to break through the clutter with a pitch or a press release, PR professionals still need to perpetually hone their writing craft.

To that end, Andrew Hindes, president and founder of PR and marketing copywriting company The In-House Writer, will be leading press release and email pitch writing clinics at PR News’ Writing Boot Camp in San Francisco on Aug. 5. He offers three clutter-busting tips here.

1. Business cliches are big turnoffs to journalists, not just because they are overused and annoying, but also because they are so generic and bland they are virtually meaningless. Throwing around terms like "innovative technology solutions" and "best-of-breed value-add business models" are surefire ways to get a reporter or editor to hit the delete key.

2. Social media has shortened journalists’ attention spans. Like the rest of us, reporters, editors and bloggers are inundated with information through media, both traditional and social. In addition to staying abreast of what's going on on in their beats they're sifting through tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and Instagram photos. That leaves even less time to read the hundreds of email pitches and press releases they receive every day. That means the materials PR pros send them need to be both newsworthy and extremely well crafted to make an impact. 

3. Using a clearly written press release headline that gets across not only what you're announcing but why it's of interest (to people other than yourself or your client) is probably the most important thing you can do to get media outlets to share your news with their readers, listeners or viewers.

Register now for PR News’ Aug. 5 Writing Boot Camp in San Francisco to take part in interactive press release and email pitch writing clinics with Andrew Hindes.

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI

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About Steve Goldstein

Steve Goldstein is editorial director for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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  • ronellsmith

    Andrew is such an awesome guy, a great resource. He even lowered himself to be interviewed by a (then-) Florida-based writer for a newsletter in 2011. (Yes, it was me.)

    As someone who has been on the B2B and B2C side of things, and who comes into contact with thousands of press releases each year, I’m disheartened by the dearth of PR folks taking such advice to heart.

    I still see far too many releases filled with gobbledygook, announced quotes and lacking in any clear direction.

    Thanks for sharing Andrew’s wisdom.