Ethical Business PR: When to Pitch Your Press Release to the Media
Successful PR doesn't happen by accident.
Most organisations gain media coverage by crafting intentional stories, building positive relationships with journalists, and pitching at the right place and the right time.
Caption: A computer screen showing a calendar with many appointments and deadlines.
So how do you know what to share with the media? When should you pitch your press release? I'll walk through some story ideas in this post, share when to pitch, and provide tips for following up with journalists.
What news should you share with the press?
How do you decide what's newsworthy? What will gain the attention of both the media and your ideal audience? Here are four examples of what you should share with the press:
1. Promoting an event
Use PR to help you spread the word about the fantastic things your ethical business is doing. Types of events include:
Opening day celebration
Fundraiser or gala
Whether it's a holiday, open mic night, or another community gathering, pitch your press release with enough notice to promote the event (and hopefully get more attendees!).
What if your event already happened?
Don't worry! Shortly after your event, share photos and a press release about the event with local journalists. Post-event PR is just as important and effective.
A soft launch is another great way to connect with your ideal customers.
Caption: Busy street with lots of people walking, sitting at tables, and enjoying the sunny weather.
Two years ago, I worked with Beach Street Felixstowe on their PR strategy. The official launch was set for June 2021, but we created a soft launch in December 2020, letting the public know it was open for Christmas shopping. As a result, Beach Street Felixstowe earned national and local coverage on podcasts, television, radio, and more.
Interested in doing a soft launch? Read the complete PR case study for inspiration.
2. Launching a new product or service
For ethical entrepreneurs, selling your products and services might feel uncomfortable. But you started your business to fulfil a purpose, right?
How will you fulfil your organisation's purpose if you keep everything to yourself?
PR helps you build excitement and get in front of new customers. But, best of all, PR helps you live out the purpose you've set for your business.
Whether you're spreading the word about antiracism or promoting inclusion in your community, your story deserves to be told.
3. Receiving a grant or award
Receiving a grant or award may feel like enough recognition on its own, but challenge yourself to lean into the momentum. Take the opportunity to spread awareness about your brand and encourage more participation in your cause.
Not sure how to tell a story about receiving an award? Here are a few ideas:
Tell a story about how far your business has come, what it took to get you here
Share what you've learned so far as a business leader
Elevate the work of your colleagues
When it comes to receiving a grant, you'll want to share your organisation's plan. How will the grant transform your work and impact?
4. Celebrating a milestone
Whether it's your fifth year in business or your fifteenth, milestones are to be shared and celebrated. Tell a story about how your business has evolved over the years and your plans for the future.
Get creative. Milestones aren't only for anniversaries. Think about:
How many staff members have you hired?
How much carbon have you offset?
How much diversity and inclusion training have you facilitated?
Quantify your work and tell your impact story to land PR, build authority, and cultivate new relationships.
When should you pitch your press release?
Every PR timeline is different. Make a list of where you want to be featured and take note of submission guidelines.
Caption: A computer and notebook on a table with flowers and a cup of tea.
To pitch a press release properly means planning ahead. Some print publications have long leads—you need to pitch far in advance of the publish date. For example, if you want to share a product on a Christmas gift guide, you might need to pitch as early as July.
Here's a general rule for when to pitch each type of publication:
When to pitch
Print (ex: glossy magazines)
Podcasts, magazines, monthly newsletter supplements
Weekly newspapers/weekly supplements
4 hours to 5 days
Daily newspapers and websites
Of course, every publication varies. Always check submission guidelines first.
When to follow up on your press release pitch
You can send the perfect pitch, and still, you don't receive a response for whatever reason.
Don't take it personally. Journalists get hundreds of messages a day. Yours might've been lost in the shuffle or added to a folder for later.
Wait five days before you reach out to see if they're interested in running your story. Then, be sure to send a follow-up email; never call.
What if you don't hear anything back?
Landing media coverage could take a few months. In PR, patience is key. Be persistent and make sure you have a solid professional profile online. After a few months, you can cut your losses and move on to another publication.
Amplify your success
Your story deserves to be shared. So determine what you want to share, craft your press release, and start pitching this month.
If you're unsure how to create a strong story angle, book your PR Power Hour today!