Your contact details – or lack thereof – can make or break your media outreach. When journalists read your excellent press release, the next thing they will do is reach out for more information. Providing contact information makes this process easier for them, especially if they’re on a tight deadline.
Many companies opt out of offering contact information on their press releases due to privacy concerns. On the other hand, some companies worry that customers or marketers will misuse this information by calling with complaints or sales pitches. Although these are valid concerns, there are good reasons why you should consider providing these details.
Why should I offer contact information?
a) It helps journalists to follow up with you
While it’s conventional to end your press release with a call to action, it’s easy to forget that contact information is a key part of this. A traditional call to action tells customers where to go for a product. Alternatively, it could tell potential investors or business partners how to connect with company founders.
In general, it is important to include a call to action for your target audience, whoever they may be. However, you also need a call to action for the journalists who will help you get your story to this target audience. If you provide contact information, then it’s easy for journalists to reach you for additional information.
b) It’s an important element of relationship building
Journalists receive hundreds of press releases a day. With this in mind, whatever you can do to make their work easier will leave a lasting impression. The last thing they want to do is go digging in Google for your contact details. When you consistently provide them with all the information they need, they warm up to you.
As you can see, contact information is an important element of your press release. In the short term, it helps journalists get in touch with you easily. In the long term, it gets you in their good books as someone who is reliable and easy to work with.
So, how can my contact details earn me media coverage?
The good news is that using your contact details effectively is not rocket science. Once you’ve understood the essentials, you’ll be well equipped to do this right.
1) Label the contact details appropriately
Traditionally, your contact details go at the bottom of your press release. This makes it easy for a journalist to skim through the document and find the information.
While it’s not absolutely necessary, you can make this section stand out even more by labelling it. Simply saying “For more information, contact us at:” or “Contact details:” is good enough. If you choose to use a subtitle for this section, then it must be bold.
2) Include your website URL
Your website URL is a key piece of information. Including a link to your website will help a curious journalist find out more about your company. Ideally, this link should be the first contact detail you share, since it will be a smooth transition from your boilerplate section.
3) Only include active accounts
In order for your contact information to be useful to a journalist, it should be up to date. The accounts you include in this list need to be monitored regularly so that journalists on a tight deadline can contact you easily. If a journalist contacts you but doesn’t hear back in good time, they might drop the story.
4) Offer some variety
Different journalists prefer to reach out on different platforms. It’s absolutely essential to provide your email address and phone number. In addition, you should list a maximum of 3 social media accounts where you are most active. Including these social media accounts will add an element of social engagement to your press release.
If your company has a LinkedIn account, include the link to this as well. Alternatively, you can provide a link to the founder or CEO’s LinkedIn account. This will give a journalist a way to reach you as well as a place to get even more information about you.
Some journalists prefer to send you a direct message on Twitter rather than send the traditional email. Similarly, some will want to call you instead. Giving journalists options to choose from will make contacting you a hassle-free process.
5) Include a spokesperson
Sometimes a journalist wants to interview someone from your company. In this case, you will need a spokesperson. To make things easier for both you and the journalist, it’s better to choose a spokesperson in advance. This can be your PR representative or company CEO.
In some cases, an employee can also make a good spokesperson if their expertise lends value to your story. In general, if your story has technical aspects or statistics, journalists prefer to talk to the people responsible for those details. For example, for a software development startup story, a software engineer may be best placed to answer technical questions.
If you’ve chosen a spokesperson ahead of time, inform the journalist that a spokesperson is available before they ask. Do this either in your press release or your email pitch. Offering access to a spokesperson will make your story more attractive to them, especially if they’re interested in an interview.
It is equally important to prepare your spokesperson for potential interview requests. Walk them through your key messages ahead of time so that they are ready to talk to the media when it’s time.
As shown above, your contact details are a crucial part of any press release. How you present this information can make the difference between a journalist giving up or publishing a story about you. Do it right, and journalists will have a much easier time writing about you.
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