You spend hours writing a press release send it to the media and it never got coverage. Maybe you have given up using the press release as a part of your marketing arsenal because you feel “rejected” or it is not relevant in today’s fast-paced media. Can you relate to this?
The press release is as relevant today as it was years ago to getting free coverage in the media. Why is your press release not getting coverage even when it is pitched to a media company that covers your topic? We asked Xavier Murphy the founder of the media platform Jamaicans.com. He mentioned that you are probably committing one or all of the “cardinal” sins that gets it rejected.
About Xavier Murphy
Xavier Murphy began thinking about creating a Jamaica-focused media platform when he was still in college in 1992 and the internet was just beginning to develop into the revolutionary global platform it has become. He was already publishing a monthly print newsletter called “Nuff Said,” which promoted Jamaica’s culture and offered insights into the Jamaican lifestyle.
Later on, during his work for a travel-related electronic marketing firm, he discovered there was a real lack of places people could go on the internet to find information about Jamaica, and so he decided to follow his passion and launched a website dedicated to covering all things Jamaican in 1995.
Originally called “The Unofficial Website of Jamaica,” Murphy used available technology to establish a community platform whose popularity has only increased as the internet has grown to be the major source for common, everyday communication and information needs.
As of January 2022, Jamaicans.com reached over 2 million people monthly and the platform has more than 200,000 followers on social media – Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr. The advantages gained by being an early adopter of internet technologies allowed Mr. Murphy to develop Jamaicans.com into today’s unique go-to community platform for Jamaicans overseas and at home, as well as for travelers and others interested in the people and culture of the island.
Tips on How to Get you Press Release Coverage
So what are some of the things you should be doing to get your press release coverage? With over 26 years as a media platform serving the Caribbean community worldwide, Xavier provided these 4 tips.
Stop Sending PDF files and Microsoft Word Documents
Your delivery method to the media is important. Do not send a Word Document or PDF via email. Stop assuming everyone has Microsoft Word. It is no longer a standard with the popularity of Free Microsoft Word Alternatives. Sending a PDF is a cardinal media sin as there’s no way to capture images or texts embedded in this file. Please also note that the media now publishes from multiple devices including mobile phones & tablets.
Opening and reading a PDF on a mobile device can be frustrating. Journalists are not sitting at a computer anymore awaiting news stories. Deliver your press release via email with everything in the body of the email. The photo(s) should be an attachment in the email. By including the text and photo in an email, the editor for the media entity is not wasting precious time trying to figure out how they’re going to get the information they need to provide coverage.
Put The Press Release Title In The Email Subject
The first thing the media entity will see is the email subject. Again time is precious in today’s fast-paced media where companies receive pitches daily. To stand out the title of your press release should have as much information as possible to catch their attention. Try to include the who, what, when, where, why and how. Work on making the title compelling and memorable. Put yourself in the place of the journalist or media company. Look at the type of stories they give coverage and the headlines those stories have.
Send Your Best Photos (Stop sending flyers and posters)
When you scroll through your social media timeline, visit a website, or flip through a magazine stunning photos will grab your attention. Send your best photo(s) with your press release. It’s especially important in today’s world with social media where a good visual will stop capture the attention of everyone. Do not send a flyer or poster it’s professional no media company is going to be publishing a flyer or poster.
Think of every media company no matter the size as you would think of the New York Times, Newsweek magazine, and Vogue. If your press release is about multiple people and you do not want to offend one person then put out a general press release and then do single press releases for each person which will give you more opportunities to received media coverage. There are many websites that provide free images you can use with your press release.
The first paragraph is your elevator pitch
Remember the elevator pitch where you have to give a quick attention-grabbing synopsis of your idea. The same thing applies for your press release. That first paragraph must capture the attention of the media company journalist/editor. It must be compelling enough that the journalist wants to read more. Lets us state this again, put yourself in the place of the journalist or media company. Know your audience the media company reaches and tell a story that will capture their attention.
Treat every press release like it is being published in a huge internationally recognized media entity this way you put your best foot forward and increase your chance of getting coverage.
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