Win journalists over in 4 steps

Tired of having your press releases and pitches ignored? Three former journalists share four frequently overlooked methods to turn heads and earn headlines.

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Lack of news value. Useless quotes. Poor writing.

Those flaws top the common complaints journalists levy against press releases and PR pitches. The list goes on, but you can avoid journalists’ ire—and even increase your media placement—if you take several simple steps.

Here are four ways to land your next idea above the fold, rather than in the delete folder:

1. Avoid the sales pitch. “We all know the dreaded feeling,” says former journalist and current AAA spokesperson Tamra Johnson. “You pick up the phone to an unfamiliar voice with one intention—to get you to buy what they’re selling. We usually walk away from these experiences with little interest in speaking with the salesperson again.”

The solution? Try being more conversational, so you don’t come off like a salesperson.

“Avoid cheesy opening lines, and craft your message like you’re having a conversation,” Johnson says. “Provide the most important information, but don’t try to sell your idea. Instead, share with the journalist how your topic or issue will inform and benefit their audience.”

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