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Five Simple Ways to Make Your Press Release Stand Out

by Nash Riggins  |  
June 11, 2015

No matter what industry your company is a part of, you're bound to be facing competition—a lot of competition. To stand out from a sea of lookalikes and wannabes, your company must reach out to the right people.

That outreach starts with maintaining an effective network of press relations.

For a lot of companies, finding PR success can be extraordinarily frustrating—especially when just starting out. But the good news is that it's actually fairly simple to get your brand name out there and in the media.

Put on a smile, be patient, and follow the following five simple steps.

1. Make the right connections

Even the most extraordinary press release on earth will be ignored if it's not sent to the right people. So, before you start cold-calling journalists with news about your company's innovative new products, sit down and think about who it is you're talking to.

First, assess your target audience and decide which media outlets members are most likely to be using day in and day out. Then, take a look at each section of those publications to figure out where your business story would fit. For example, are you trying to raise awareness about a new tech product, or are you announcing a new company scholarship?

Not everything qualifies as a breaking news story, so you should bear in mind that firing off a quick email to the editor-in-chief of a national newspaper is a waste of time and energy. It will never be read, and you'll probably end up getting listed as spam.

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Nash Riggins is an American business journalist based in central Scotland. He writes for the Huffington Post, World Finance, EuropeanCEO, and the New Economy. Follow his blog:

Twitter: @nashriggins

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  • by Gary Frisch Fri Jun 12, 2015 via web

    Good article overall but my issue is with these sentences:

    "'s time to go back to them to point out that somebody else is running the story. That might be all the encouragement they need."

    Conventional wisdom is that it's never a good idea to tell a reporter they should do a story because "someone else is doing it", whether that other outlet is a competitor or not. In my (26 years) experience, reporters sometimes DO want to think they're getting something exclusively, but they almost NEVER want to be told they're trailing another outlet. Not every story I offer is an exclusive, but I would never volunteer the information that someone else is doing it, unless -- and only maybe -- it's being done by a different format, eg. I'm talking to a newspaper reporter and a TV station already did something. If asked, however, all bets are off and I answer honestly.

  • by Ellie Peredo Tue Jun 16, 2015 via web

    From a British POV, I completely agree concerning this idea of letting a reporter know that somebody else is running a story. I've written for two of London's national dailies, and the mood in the newsroom is extremely populist. The UK newspaper market is so saturated, that most of the bigger titles feel as though they have to cover every single item that other papers plan on covering. If The Times does it, The Independent does it. If The Sun does it, The Daily Mail does it. So from a PR perspective, once you have got in with one of the national newspapers, all like-minded publications must inevitably publish the story, too. They won't want to, because it is not unique. But editorial guidelines dictate they have no choice.

    Long story short, this is spot-on. If you've got a big release and somebody nibbles, let the others know. Perhaps not as applicable in a more fragmented media market like the US, but certainly applicable across the pond.

  • by Wendy Marx Tue Jul 28, 2015 via web

    Hi Nate,

    I enjoyed your article but have a few bones to pick. I personally find that journalists like most of us are too busy to take phone calls -- especially before they know the news. That might have been fine in the old days before the journalists were so stretched to do their jobs. I also would hesitate going back to journalists, as Gary Frisch indicated in his comment, and letting them know that someone else was covering it. I think there is something insulting about that but perhaps you have a special way of doing to hear that!

  • by Victor Ainsley Mon Aug 3, 2015 via web

    Wendy, I completely disagree regarding phone calls. I've worked on several news desks in the past few years, and reporters are extraordinarily busy. But they also know how to multitask. I've written murder stories while on the phone to children's charities and doing research for upcoming college sports games. That's part of the job. No, reporters don't WANT to talk to you on the phone. But a good one will, because it's their job. And, as the author (Nash, not Nate) states, having a voice to match with an email helps. As a reporter, whenever I get a PR phone call, I get extremely annoyed. I hate it. But because that person has contacted me over two forms of communication, I'm more likely to do something to appease them. Even if it is just to send over 3 pars to my editors and ask them to use it as fill. It will almost always make print. Even if it annoys me.

  • by Wendy Marx Mon Aug 3, 2015 via web


    I am glad to hear you and your colleagues take phone calls! My point was not that journalists don't take phone calls but that at least in my experience they don't want to be bothered ahead of time with a call. I also find that social media can be a quicker and more effective way of journalists and PR people communicating. Of course, this is based on personal experience and I'm sure different journalists have their own preferences.

    Just don't hang up on me if I ever call you!

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