10 reasons a reporter will ignore your news release

A former reporter explains what irks him, and how PR pros can better get his attention.

When I was a reporter, a communications firm emailed me a news release about an education expert available for comment. A combination of the following reasons led me to ignore the release:

1. Contact information was at the top.

Place contact information at the bottom. Your lede—the first few sentences you hope grab a reporter’s attention—takes priority. Contact information at the top reinforces the feel of a news release, which you don’t want. Your email signature should offer sufficient contact information.

2. The news release included a headline.

You don’t need a headline. A news release is not a news story. Your email’s subject line serves as a sufficient headline.

3. The news release included a dateline.

You don’t need a dateline. Again, this is not a news story.

4. The news release explained, “So and so is available for comment.”

If you’re sending an email about an expert, reporters already understand someone is available for comment.

5. The news release listed five topics the expert could speak about to reporters.

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