Content | March 22, 2023

Press Release Wasn’t Picked Up? Here Are 5 Things You Can Do

There is nothing that makes me sweat more than when I send out a press release and it’s not picked up the same day. Day two comes around, and I start frantically searching for the coverage, but still nothing. 

We’ve all been there though, and it can be really disheartening when something you think is going to BANG just gets ignored, or you get that ‘not interested’ email from someone you really thought would care. Heart-breaking.

However, over the years, what I’ve come to realise is that there’s probably only one press release in so many that will be picked up instantly. This is natural, of course; not everything makes it to everyone’s inbox – as we all know, journalist inboxes are hectic and some news days are just a lot busier than others.

So, after spending hours of writing, revisiting, proofing and of course, waiting on client sign off; aside from just moving your press release to the ‘trash’ folder, what else can we do? Quite a lot, as it turns out! Here are my top tips for re-pushing failed press releases and bouncing back ready for next time.

1. Offer Journalists Exclusive Content

Publications are much more likely to take you up on your story if they’re the only ones that have access to it, and they know it’s not send to every Tom, Dick and Harry. This is why offering exclusives to target publications can work an absolute treat, making stories much more likely to get picked up.

Analyse which websites are going to be the most beneficial for your site using a tool like Ahrefs or Semrush – this could be sites with high Domain Ratings that haven’t linked to you yet, but have linked to one or all of your competitors. 

Once you’ve done that, include ‘EXCLUSIVE’ in the subject line so it grabs the journalist’s eye, and give them a 24-hour deadline so that you’re not waiting too long for a response.

Once 22 hours or so have passed, don’t be afraid to send a follow up. If they know it’s just for them, they’re more likely to respond. They could say ‘we’re currently writing this up’ which is one I’ve had recently, so they may not let you know they’re interested until they’re in the middle of pulling it all through.

We recently received a link from the Mirror for a luxury bed client and, as you can see, they’ve highlighted that it was an exclusive:

2. Create an ‘Already Approved and Ready to Go’ Quote Bank

If your press release is expert-led and has some seriously great quotes in there, there’s no reason why you can’t send the quotes out separately without the rest of the content.

If you haven’t already, create a quote bank. This is where you can store all of your approved quotes by category so that it’s easy to find when you need it.

Then, when something comes through on your journalist request system like Response Source, or on a #JournoRequest on Twitter, you’ve got the quote approved and ready to go. After all, we all know how much a journalist loves a quick response. This helps eliminate a lot of competition, while also improving your efficiency.

We recently submitted a year-old quote to the Express that got picked up, despite the initial press release not doing so. This shows that things can get picked up not just weeks after, but a whole year after, as long as it’s still relevant and in date!

3. Make the Content Relevant to Something Going On

Awareness Days, the weather, TV guides – these are all relevant events that you can link your press release to. If you’re not conscious of the awareness days that are suitable for your brand, then you’re already a step behind.

There’s an awareness day on everything; National Pie Day, National Sleep Day, World Book Day – there is literally something for everyone. All you we need to do is alter the release to make it work for that specific event.

We launched a campaign for our wonderful client on driving myths – everything we think is illegal when we drive, and vice versa. I thought that driving with the interior light on was illegal, but turns out, it’s just some lie my mum told me to not turn it on!

We pushed this story back out six months after launch, but tweaked it to suit an event current at that time – a major snowfall. This got picked up by 30 more publications, including The Sun, Express and Liverpool Echo all in one week, just from making it suitable to the time period! This campaign now has over 250 pieces of coverage. Some of which included:

You can view the campaign here: 

4. Test Out Your Subject Lines, and Track Your Open Rates

Don’t just send something out and forget about it – analyse who opened it, and who opened the link. 

Here at Liberty, we use Buzzstream to push out our press releases where we can do split testing on subject lines – some people get subject line A, some people get subject line B. Once we figure which one has the highest open rate, that’s normally the subject line we roll with for further proofing.

If neither did too well, then you might need to consider adding some keywords to your subject lines; REVEALED, New Research, Exclusive, etc, to make it more enticing.

If you don’t feel like you can change your subject lines and your open rates are still low, then you might be going to their junk mail. Try emailing the ‘news@’ email of your target publication (it should be forwarded to the correct department), or try and find the journalist on Twitter and see if their DMs are open for you to let them know they’ve not received an email you sent them.

5. Keep On Trying!

The timing might not have been right the first time, or the journalists you sent something to might’ve been having a busy day, moved your email to one side and forgotten about it.

Journalist inboxes are crazy, and they receive hundreds, if not thousands of pitches each day. I’m sure journalists would love to read yours, but if they don’t, they might’ve just come across something that was of slightly more interest than your press release

Give the release some time to settle, and push it out a few weeks/months later when hopefully, their inboxes are a bit drier and your subject line and press release stands out amongst the rest. 

Need an expert touch?

If you need any help with your online presence Liberty’s digital PR team may be able to help. We’ve been securing links for our clients in all sorts of industries for years. From obscure niches to more topical interests, we know how to craft an interesting story and put your brand in the spotlight. Contact us today and a member of our team will be in touch for a chat.

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