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The Difference Between a Press Release and a Pitch

In today’s fast-paced media environment, getting noticed in the right circles can be a challenging task. For PR professionals, garnering media coverage is crucial to building brand recognition and credibility. Two of the most common methods used to generate buzz are press releases and media pitches. While they may appear similar at first glance, these two approaches have distinct differences in their purpose, structure and execution.

What is a press release?

A press release is a formal written document that provides the necessary information to journalists and media outlets about an upcoming event or development. This information is formulated to be as objective as possible and includes all the essential details of the story such as who, what, when, where, and why. Press releases are often distributed through news outlets and are designed to reach a large audience. They are considered resource documents.

What is a media pitch?

Conversely, a pitch is a personalized message directed toward a specific journalist with the aim of persuading them to cover a story. Pitches are less formal than press releases and focus on the unique angle or hook that makes a story relevant to the journalist’s audience. Pitches should be concise, engaging and grab the attention of the recipient right away. They are often sent via email or over the phone (these days, email is more likely). Understanding the advantages of each approach and knowing when to use them can help to increase your chances of successfully securing media coverage for your company or event.

Media Pitch vs Press Release – Which is better?

The main advantage of press releases is that they have the potential to reach a large audience, based on their distribution model. Press releases are distributed through wire services which means that they are often picked up by multiple media outlets, which can help to build brand recognition and establish credibility. Press releases’ objective structure often lends a sense of professionalism and credibility to the content, as well as increased SEO. A well-written press release can also help establish the credibility of the company or event being promoted.

Pitches, on the other hand, allow for more personalized outreach and can result in more targeted coverage from specific media outlets. This approach offers the opportunity to build relationships with journalists and media outlets, which can lead to more sustained, ongoing coverage. Additionally, because pitches are less formal than press releases, they offer more flexibility in terms of messaging and storytelling.

Both press releases and pitches have their own unique advantages in generating media coverage. While a press release may be more effective in reaching a larger audience, a targeted pitch can help to create a more personalized connection with specific journalists and media outlets. It is important to remember that the method chosen should depend on the goals and needs of your company or event. For example, press releases tend to be formulaic, which removes the personal touch that pitches often offer. However, that requires more time and research to be dedicated to writing a pitch.

Press releases and pitches are essential tools in any PR practitioners’ wheelhouse. By understanding the differences between these two approaches and utilizing them strategically, you can improve your chances of getting the media attention you deserve. So go ahead and experiment with both methods to see what works best for you!