As a person who sends releases and pitches to a number of media outlets, it is hard for me to be objective about my own work. However, I will critique a few releases from others that have landed recently in my inbox.
From Weber Shandwick: A brief 2-paragraph notice that A-B employees would participate in Global Be(er) Responsible Day last week. The release also offered a spokesperson for an interview. Quick and to the point.
From Lippe Taylor: A list of highlights (in bullet point form) from a survey conducted for Nescafé for National Coffee Day on September 29. One stat: 42% of coffee drinkers say that their last cup of coffee was more satisfying than their last “intimate experience.” (The release offered to share the full results of the survey for those interested.)
From the Sportsman Channel: A pitch to interview Steven Rinella about the MeatEater show on which he prepared and ate the hearts of five animals he hunted. The release was in a convenient who/what/when format. The “boilerplate” (organizational overview), however, was much too long.
From Sheila Stewart PR: A pitch to interview an attorney about the effort to raise money for the policeman involved in the Michael Brown shooting. The subject line was confusing and the pitch gave ALL of the guy’s credentials before mentioning what he might talk about.
From St. Louis Science Center: I love the Science Center but their release re the Sherlock Holmes exhibit opening next month is wordy and vague. I’m guessing it’s a “copy and paste” release from the folks who put the exhibit together. It has six “boilerplates” at the end. Six! (Their release for this past weekend’s Electric Car show was much better… in the when/what/where/contact format.)
From Penguin Books: A pitch to talk to the author of From Scratch, a history of the Food Network. The names mentioned in the pitch are famous in the food/cooking universe, but the anecdotes and quotes from the book are not compelling. If those are the highlights, I’ll pass.
I respect everyone who’s working hard to tell clients’ stories, but communicating with media requires focus and clarity. If you want your pitch to survive the dreaded delete button, give something substantial, timely and easy to comprehend.