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by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/DC
Business Wire’s Features National circuit and Feature Topic Series can help distribute your press releases, but how do you create an effective story that will appeal to a features editor? I reached out to Katie Aberbach of the Washington Post Express and Katy De Luca of the Washington Examiner to find out the dos and don’ts of pitching a feature editor.
Katie Aberbach is a feature editor for the Washington Post Express‘ Lookout, Weekend Pass and Digs sections. According to Aberbach, a good feature is “a human interest story, something the average reader can relate to.” The best feature stories are when you become invested in what you’re reading or when you can tell that the reporter truly enjoys what he or she is writing about. When it comes to getting ideas for feature stories, “press releases do help out a lot because there is no way you can know everything new that’s coming out,” she said. “Tell me about your new product, television show and book and offer a source to comment on it.”
When it comes to writing your press release, she suggests the following:
- Do break up the story and summarize key information into bullet points.
- Do include links to other trend stories and think of what visuals would work for your story.
- Don’t forget the hook. Even though you’re pitching a feature story, a hard news hook is still valuable. Say why I should care right away. Naming the names is really important.
Katy De Luca is the features editor of the Washington Examiner. For De Luca, the best feature stories are ones that appeal to the Examiner audience. “I look at all pitches and think about what will be most interesting to our readers. I think about what they would want to read and what is the best way to get the information to them,” she said. Most of the story ideas come from the writers De Luca works with. She also reads a variety of media and if a topic grabs her attention, she’ll forward the lead to one of her freelancers.
When pitching a feature reporter or editor, De Luca recommends these points:
- Do include as much information as possible in the subject line and personalize your pitch. Provide all basic details. Simple is better.
- Do periodically ask the person you are pitching to what sort of things they are looking for. Communication is a key part of the process.
- Don’t send long-winded e-mails with attachments.
For more suggestions on how to help get your feature news noticed by the media, check out these Features News Tips. You can also contact our features department at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional writing tips and story suggestions.
Jesse Stanchak wrote recently at SmartBrief’s Smart Blog on Social Media about the growth of the mobile market and what it means to marketers and PR people. Jesse says that aiming your news at mobile users is less of a small, tactical change to the industry and more a revision of entire strategies, much like the advent of broadcasting changed things in the past.
It makes sense. Never before have consumers of information been more in charge of when, where and how they get it. Going forward, successful marketers are going to have to make information available in a format and through channels that reach consumers everywhere. Not just at home or in the car, and not just on TV or radio, but on game consoles, on phones, on netbooks . . . on pretty much anything.
Take a look at the expected growth of mobile internet devices over the next few years. The 3G smartphone market alone, which includes iPhones, Blackberries, Droids and other devices, grew 42% from 2008 to 2009. And as Adam Cahill notes, “We’re talking about a fundamental shift in how people access the Web and, presumably, a corresponding shift in what they do once they get there.”
So while you’re tailoring your strategy for mobile web users, we’ll help you deliver it: Along with our new mobile-optimized site, we now deliver your news to mobile devices everywhere via multiple channels. And keep an eye out for more exciting Business Wire Mobile news coming in the next several weeks.
Did you know that Valentine’s Day sections are one of the largest sections the media runs annually, even after Santa returns to the North Pole? Or that the National Retail Federation estimates the size of the Valentine’s Day market at more than $14 billion?
That, according to Hallmark, 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually? That 58 million pounds of chocolate candy, at a total of $345 million, will be sold in the week before Valentine’s Day?
Now is the best time to help out Cupid and prepare your Valentine’s Day feature . Tell section editors about the latest gifts, trends or expert advice you want to promote and keep consumers in-the-know.
If you have a good story to tell, Business Wire will be sending two Valentine’s Day feature news packages to the media this year. Copy for these topics is due January 15 and January 26th.
Find out more about our Features Topic Series packages at http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/features/.
And if you’re covering Valentine’s Day in your publication, broadcast or blog, be sure to sign up to receive Business Wire’s customizable news feed service via PressPass so you don’t ever miss a story.
(Photo: Denise Cross/Flickr)