Poured your heart and soul into crafting the *perfect* media release, only to wait by your inbox for a reply that never comes? Look, we’ve all been there. Which is why we spoke directly to editors to find out what makes a media release stand out from the pack. Read on to find out how to get your pitches read by teams at the likes of Vogue Living, Broadsheet, Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
F: Do you prefer a media release or a well crafted pitch email?
Che-Marie Trigg, Sydney Editor, Broadsheet
“I typically prefer a quick rundown of what the pitch is, and the hook for a potential story, before I will click on a media release. I want to see:
- Who is behind what you’re pitching – so often an email or press release will pitch generic stories (that very often aren’t anything like what we might run) rather than just telling us the actual product/ venue / person they are trying to pitch.
- The story behind the company / product. Often PRs will assume we know as much about their client as they do, and just drop in a name – with 100s of emails a day it’s literally impossible to know everything about everyone. Background info and why we should care is really important!
- The news angle. We are predominantly a news site; many, many pitches that come through don’t have a news angle – we often try and dig in and find them, but when trawling through hundreds of emails, if your pitch doesn’t have newsworthiness, there’s a good chance we won’t have scope to cover it.”
Annie Brown, Head of Brand (digital), Vogue Australia
“I want pitches to be personalised. A generic blanket email pitch generally doesn’t go down well and is much easier to ignore. The usual clunkers – using the wrong name, misspelling a name, pitching a story which clearly shows you’ve never read the publication – are also easy to avoid mistakes.”
Some great examples:
I enjoyed the story you wrote last week on political fashion and wanted to introduce you to my label, Annie Brown. We’re about to launch our first resort collection which has been made with a new-to-Australia fabric called Wow, created entirely from pressed-juice bottles. We’re part of a movement you would be across in Australia and overseas of brands creating elevated minimal pieces with a sustainable practice and I hoped you might be interested in profiling our business and speaking to the trend? We can offer you exclusive images, interview access to Annie Brown and our CEO Eleanor Brown and the first run on the campaign shots.
“Press releases longer than two pages are generally unnecessary. Especially when they’re a jumble of adjectives and missing the crucial details.”
I know you work two weeks ahead and so wanted to give you the heads up that our new collection, LOVE, will be launching into stores on April 3. It’s a new direction for the brand with creative director Annie Brown collaborating with renowned artist Eleanor Brown (her work recently won the Art Prize) on a range of pop art bags. If you’re interested I can offer you an exclusive image and put you in touch with Annie and Eleanor should you need a quote for your page too.
F: What are three things that must be included in a media release or pitch email?
Yeong Sassall, Head of Brand, Vogue Living:
- Facts! (dates, times, deadlines, background info)
- Embargo dates (if there is one)
- Link to images.
Melissa Singer, Fashion Editor, SMH / The Age:
- Clear details. It’s incredible how often I have to go combing through a release to find basics such as on-sale dates, etc.
- A usable, high-res image. That means no conspicuous branding, and in a format I don’t have to ask another picture editor to adjust.
- Whether the story is being offered as an exclusive or first run, and clarity around this. No cryptic clues, please!
Lauren Sams, Fashion Editor, AFR
- That the story is exclusive.
- That the subject has time to speak – no email interviews.
- The time frame for the story.
F: What do you look for in an email subject line that makes you want to open it?
“Personalisation. If I think something is targeted to me, specifically, I am more inclined to open it. But I can smell a “Hey beauty” or “Hey Mel” form email a mile away!”
“The who, the what and that news hook – if you can condense that into a subject line, there’s a good chance we’ll click!”
F: What are the imagery must-haves?
We can only run landscape-oriented images on our site (same goes with many publications working in the same space, I believe). Portrait-oriented images can crop strangely on our site. As the imagery on our site is as important as words, the right photos can make the difference between us covering a story or not. Web-res is fine, and we prefer lifestyle imagery to deep-etch.
F: What’s the best pitch you’ve ever received and why did it stand out?
A couple of years ago a big American publication wrote a story about Aperol Spritzes being overrated. A PR suggested we write an op-ed disagreeing – it was a great, timely idea, that showed they understood what we do and our audience.
Image: Shona Joy, sourced via Flaunter.