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5 Ways to Turn Your Press Release Into an Eye-Catching Pitch

August 25, 2017

Many people mistakenly think a press release and a pitch are the same thing. While they do have their similarities, they are entirely different animals. Just because it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck doesn’t mean it’s exactly the same. There are subtle differences you should know. This is crucial because unless you’re someone incredibly famous, you don’t want to send out a press release. There are many reasons for this, but before we get into that, let’s go back to the basics.

A press release is like your resume. It answers who, what, when, where, why and how. It gives all the details about your company, your product, your service or your event. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it’s just not the best way to get booked. Why? Because journalists suffer from information overload, and unless you’re someone big, it’s about as exciting as reading a grocery list.

On the other hand, a pitch is a personal letter mixed with intrigue. It hints at some juicy details without revealing too much. Reading it is like watching a movie trailer. It gives you the gist of the story and leaves you dying to know more. It’s a teaser, and it hooks journalists making them want to feature your name.

That said, what if you’ve already got yourself some press releases? Should you just chuck it out the window? With a little tweaking here and there, you can transform a boring press release into an exciting story-based pitch.

1. Why is this newsworthy right now?

A pitch should show why the reader should care about your topic. Is it trending? Does it solve a problem? Will it benefit the audience? When journalists read your pitch, they’re looking to bring value to their readership.

If you press release answers questions about your company, your pitch should answer questions about your ideal audience. In short, it’s not about you. It’s about them and what you can do for them.

2. Give some zest on tired cliches.

A great pitch always has room for wit, but don’t stuff it with buzzwords.

Although every saying has a grain of truth in them, people tend to tune out once they hear it. As a rule of thumb, it’s usually best to avoid them altogether.

But there is one exception. Sam Horn writes in her book Pop!, “You don’t have to avoid cliches altogether. Just add your own unique twist instead of repeating them verbatim.”

By making the old sound new again, you can catch people’s attentions. Why? People feel safe and comfortable with the familiar, yet they crave for excitement. Cliches are deeply ingrained in their memories, yet with a fresh twist, you can liven it up again.

Has someone ever told you if life gives you lemons make lemonade? There’s no spark. It’s boring. It’s overdone. But let’s say you own a restaurant or a bar. How can you make that work? Well you can say, “If life gives you lemons, grab some tequila.”

If you’re going to use a popular quote, make it different and daring.

3. Sell your message by connecting the dots.

Imagine walking into a store. The salesman shows you a brand new gadget, and while it looks interesting, you can’t help but ask, “What is it for?”

Here’s the thing. Nobody has time to listen to the mechanics of your product. Even if you try to explain these things, people are going to look at you and go, “Huh? I don’t get it.” So here’s a quick shortcut. Connect it with something they already know.

For example, you’ve developed a brand new software for music concerts. You can go on and on about coding it and designing it, but you still end up nowhere. On the other hand, you can simply say, “It’s like Airbnb for musicians. It allows them to book venues for their concerts.” Boom! They get it instantly.

When sending out your pitch, take time to think about how you can connect your ideas with something already well-known.

4. Break your ideas down into bullet points.

Unlike press releases, a pitch needs to be snappy. Your ideas have to spark like firecrackers. It’s quick, straight to the point and brief, yet it allows your personality to shine through.

Remember, journalists are under constant pressure. They don’t have time to chew your ideas, so serve them in bite-sized pieces.

5. Top it off with an eye-catching headline.

A great headline is like the cherry on top — rich and vibrant. It may be small, but it makes everything else pop. Headlines should be attention-grabbing. Give a sneak peek by hinting at what the topic is going to be about. The idea is to pique their curiosity, so they click on your email instead of sending it to the bin.

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