Top 10 tactics for an engaging B2B news release
Per a 2020 Muck Rack report, most journalists receive at least one pitch daily, yet publish under five stories a week, with a quarter or less of their stories originating from PR pitches. Factor into this the idea that writers face intense deadlines and that top-tier outlets often receive 100s of pitches a week, and it’s likely that you only have seconds, not minutes, before a journalist gets distracted and forgets your pitch.
Adding to the challenge, PR pitching is time-sensitive, so while you’re trying to issue an announcement, the value of your news may be quickly dropping for reporters and your company alike. But all is not lost, and it is possible to gain a journalist’s attention.
To help you smartly craft and deliver your news, here are some essential considerations that can determine the success of a news release:
1. Select an appropriate subject
A B2B news release can tackle many topics, such as a new product/service launch or partnership, winning a new client or an award, a new executive hire, public appearances, philanthropy projects and original research. Once you’ve selected a topic, be sure that the release is succinct, clear and straight to the point.
2. Target the right audience
Lack of personalization or bad timing are top reasons journalists reject otherwise relevant pitches. To avoid this, make sure your pitch aligns with the beat and types of stories covered by the reporter you’re sending it to. It also helps to give a specific reason why you’re bringing that news to a certain outlet (e.g., it aligns with a trending topic or an upcoming issue).
3. Create a headline with a newsworthy hook
A great headline can succinctly state what your announcement means for an industry or topic that readers care about. Creating such a headline can help you break through the noise alongside the competition or even larger brands.
4. Put the most crucial summary info upfront
Many readers don’t get past the first paragraph before deciding whether to keep reading, so writers should place the most vital info about the release first followed by pertinent details below.
5. Keep your pitch short, meaningful and succinct
Short email pitches are often useful when sending out news releases. Most journalists feel that pitches over three paragraphs in length are too long. With that in mind, it’s best to communicate everything you need to in as few paragraphs as possible or in under 200 words.
6. Utilize value-added quotes
News release real estate is limited, so quotes must add value in unique ways and often perform many roles. Some methods for creating value-added quotes include explaining why the news is groundbreaking, summarizing a challenge and how it’s being resolved, using a powerful analogy, using humour to express a strong opinion or connecting the news with an industry’s macro-level issues.
7. Include imagery
Intriguing imagery can greatly boost the value of content. Instead of stock art, it’s often better to use an action shot of your subject or an original image that is appropriate, interesting and informative. Something in high resolution (300+ dpi if a jpg) is preferable and usually necessary for print.
8. Think about using video
A video may accomplish more than text or imagery. If you’re making your own, try to keep the runtime under four minutes. To show professionalism, ensure a high resolution, at least HD, and make sure shots are not shaky. To attract and retain viewers, write an effective storyboard and script, and end with a call to action. You can host it on Vimeo or YouTube, so people are comfortable opening it.
9. Ensure the “About” section is well written
Boilerplates at the end of news releases provide basic company info that journalists often need. Avoid salesy language and clearly explain key elements like products and services, customers, company location and size, missions and accolades. You may also want to add a call to action linking to your website and keywords for SEO.
10. Time your news effectively
Issuing a news release at the right time helps avoid being lost among the clutter. It can be best to avoid Mondays, Friday afternoons or the weekends when journalists may not be working. Also, consider issuing your news just before or after the stock market opens. Time zones are another factor to consider. Ideal times may differ for different industries, so learn the important times and dates of your vertical.
Most journalists’ inboxes are overflowing, so it’s vital to ensure every piece of a news release is crafted exceptionally. This could be the difference that makes your news heard.
By Robert Brownlie, Bob Gold & Associates
About the Author
Robert Brownlie is an integral part of the team at Bob Gold & Associates (BG&A) located in Los Angeles, California. Robert leads numerous technology accounts, including NiceLabel and Opengear. Prior to joining BG&A, Robert’s professional experiences include editing and creating technical documents, proposals and marketing materials for healthcare IT and civil engineers. Before entering the compelling world of public relations and business-to-business communication, Robert tutored English grammar at Long Beach City College and attended California State University Long Beach, where he graduated with a degree in English and Technical Communications. His background enables him to effectively write and pitch content for clients and contribute to results-driven marketing and communications strategies.