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.