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Have you ever been in a situation where you are stuck deciding between using a press release versus a pitch to get your news out there?
Which one’s the better option? Which would be more productive in a currency situation?
We’ve all been there. It can be a tedious decision, but there are key differences between the two and specific use cases that work best for each. If you haven’t already, check out this guide that breaks down everything you need to know about pitching the media.
We went straight to the experts themselves to break down the difference and if one is better than the other. Here’s what 7 had to say:
Press Releases versus Media Pitches
What’s more beneficial, a press release or a pitch? #prrequest
— Jered Martin (@JmoMonk) September 15, 2020
Kate Ottavio Kent, VP of ICR
“Increasingly using a pitch as it’s better to tailor to the target and secure more in-depth coverage. However, I do find outlets can often repurpose a lot of a release for a story. Maybe that’s helpful to them and helps land a hit.”
Lorna Branton, Head of Media at NHS Digital
“Depends on what you’re trying to achieve. You’re never going to get a feature or a thought leadership piece from a press release, but nor will you get blanket national coverage from a pitch. And sometimes you need a blend of the two.”
Jennifer Tan Rockwell, Managing Director at ROAR Communications
“A pitch serves as practically an exclusive feature and is more collaborative in nature. It can also be beneficial to both the media outlet and the client. It also gives more credibility to the story.
For me, press releases can also be beneficial if it’s an announcement or a promo. But if there’s a story, a pitch is always better, rather than seeding a release. Sometimes, both are warranted. It really depends on the campaign, and/or the objectives.”
Ellen Chan, Journalist at U.S. News
“You need to use both. Press releases are good for news about the company, execs and new products/regions. Pitches are good for trend or news stories.”
Ella Minty, Issues, Crisis, & Reputation Lecturer & Adviser
“Press release if you don’t know the journalist; pitch, if you do.
The former doesn’t require a relationship, which means quality and relevance of news is crucial. The latter does require a relationship and it’s generally easier to pitch “lighter” news.”
Mary Brynn Milburn, Senior Public Relations Coordinator at Idea Grove
“A pitch can be tailored or customized to each reporter and outlet, whereas a press release is more business forward and general. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but sometimes for virtue of catching media’s attention, a pitch can do this better :)”
Michelle Garrett, PR Consultant at Garrett Public Relations
“It depends on the goals. Press releases serve a purpose beyond media relations, IMO – they help get everyone on same page re: messaging, can be posted on your site to show history, etc. A pitch feels less formal, but in some cases, it’s all you need. Sometimes both are warranted.”
The key is understanding your ultimate end goal. Once you have this cemented, it’s much easier to decide how you should release your news and to who.
If you want to learn more about pitching journalists, subscribe to Coffee with a Journalist to learn more about what journalists look for in pitches, sources, and more. Episodes are released every Tuesday and each week we feature a new top-tier journalist from prestigious publications.
Also read about how to pitch tech journalists in our PR 101 series. We interviewed 4 journalists to see what tips they have for pitching them, standing out in their inbox, and actually landing coverage.