I'm working on a major announcement for a client and doing some pitching for outreach.
Here are some hints and what works for me.
1. Email. Yes, I primarily use email for advance pitches. I find it more efficient and more useful to the prospective journalist or analyst to do my initial out reach that way.
2. My pitch. Very short and to the point. Especially in the context of today's over pitches and over emailed world, I make my pitches easy to read and easy to understand. I suggest highlighting one benefit and why this is interesting news.
3. Allow at least one week for lead time. Due to backlog and assuming I will get a few takers, I send pitches out about one week to 10 days before the actual announcement. I let the receiving end know the basics and offer the release as long as they will honor an embargo.
4. Ask for an embargo. Yes, an embargo is ok. You are sending the journalist this information in advance so you enable them to report on the news (if they wish) on the day it's officially announced.
5. I don't email bloggers in mass. Depending on the release and the client, when I pitch a blogger, I will try to engage in a conversation with the blogger. Some bloggers have pitch forms you have to fill in. Do your "paperwork" and submit on the form.
6. Offer a human to speak to. Press releases, especially now, are pretty routine and to the point — even the so-called Social Media releases. Add the human element with a real spokesperson who can speak to and about the news, not just about the company.
7. Offer a demo on YouTube. If the announcement merits, link to a YouTube video like this one, that we recently had produced by this company in Israel.
8. Incorporate a quote from a customer. If you say you're great that one thing; having a customer saying you're great is another. And make that customer available to the media if they want a real live (paying) customer to speak to.
9. Incorporate a quote from an industry analyst. Same as #8, but with an analyst's view. Why this matters, how it helps grow or create a market, solve a pain point, point to a trend that you are leading in.
10. Join in, or help create the conversation. Find blogs and related news sites where you can point to your news, engage about the news and try to creat some buzz around what you're announcing.