How to pitch European journalists to get coverage

Press releases are similar, yet different. Getting the small nuances right may be crucial to having a successful international press release. Enterie – a network of international PR agencies – has asked their partner agencies how sending a press release looks like in their country, and present their answers in this article.

A good press release will get published. There are of course a few naysayers that will state that the press release is dead – but they are, according to us and our partners – wrong. Press releases do work if you write them correctly. But what does that mean?

What is a press release?

The basics of creating a press release are similar everywhere. A press release is a news item.

If you don’t have newsworthy information to bring forward, you need to do something else.

Rafael Tirmarche, CEO of Factivity, Enterie’s Belgian partner agency

A good press release should be built like a news article, replying to “5 W’s” – “Who? What? When? Where? and Why?” – adding “How?” to the mix. The structure is the same everywhere. The release should not be too long – 2000 to 3000 characters will suffice.

Because journalists receive so many releases and they don’t write long reads based on PRs anyhow, make your releases not too lengthy – adds Tiermarche.

The question that remains is ‘what is newsworthy?’ It may be different. Most of the markets will be interested in a new product or business collaboration, but not everywhere

Product launches and collaboration news do not work in Germany. The media is also not too interested in information on new features of a product unless it is relevant to the entire industry.

Tatjana Ramerth – Head of PR at ELEMENT C, German partner agency of Enterie

Germany is, however, a good place to distribute research findings and data, that will not necessarily work elsewhere.

Opinion pieces, state of the market or comments related to big news may work in some isolated cases or regions (and if your client is a big player in the market, the media would usually like to publish what they have to say), however, it is the news that is the news, and what the media workers are looking for. 

Style matters

The style of the press release should be informative, but the tone also differs. The language and tonality of say, German or Polish press releases, are more matter-of-fact and objective than the American or British ones where the tone can have a more of a marketing focus and the tone may be more “enthusiastic” about the product.

There are European countries where things get more complicated – mostly due to language.

In Switzerland, we communicate in four languages and four styles that come with them.

Brigitte Kaps, CEO & Founder of the Swiss agency Rent a PR

The tone may change not only depending on the country specifics but may also be different for different media, depending on their topics and scope of the release. Sometimes agencies adjust the release depending on the sector the media they send it to cover.

We send customized versions from the same topic to different media, with different tones of voice, depending on their topics (e.g. lifestyle, business, economics, news portals, tourism, etc.).

Enterie’s Hungarian partner Rita Hajagos

A press release is one thing. Pitching matters.

Your press release is one thing, another is getting journalists interested in it. In some markets, it is appropriate to send press releases as an attachment, in others to link to them. Not to mention, local media prefer to be pitched in different ways. Some prefer a short email, others would rather take a phone or video call, and so on.

Even an e-mail and news release titles may matter. Everyone knows that journalists are bombarded by press releases – and it is hard to make them interested. Where possible, do make the titles fun or different – says Ranbir Sahota, director at British Vitis PR.

However, she adds that titles need to be short and to the point, but encouraging the journalist to open your email or continue reading your release.

Journalists get quite a lot of releases, so we play a lot with the title and headline – says Rita Hajagos, co-owner at Hungarian Red Lemon. Titles are important, and the golden rule is to be interesting, but informative. You have to ensure that you catch the key message of the press release in the title and e-mail subject. The key here is to strike a good balance between informative and catching the reader’s eye – explains Arnout Lansberg, consultant of Dutch MCS PR.

Prowly allows us to quickly monitor the number of releases opened and clicked, as well as who opened them. It is perfect to later follow-up with journalists – says Michał Rakowski, Senior Account Manager at Polish Profeina Agency, Chief Network Officer of Enterie.

As you see, it is not easy to send a press release that will be meeting local expectations of more than one market. This is why Enterie offers EnterieGO – a global news distribution service for Europe and the USA.

You can send us your press release, select the countries you wish to send your news in, and get an offer in an instant. Our partner agencies will work on translating and localizing the news to meet the local market needs. We work in almost 20 European markets and the US.

Magdalena Górak, founder of Enterie

Doing everything in the same manner in every country does not work. We believe in our local experts, who know their markets best, as local customs really differ from each other – adds Rakowski.

The advantage of such a “localized” approach is the distribution of the press release. It is based on person-to-person relationships with journalists, influencers, and media. Local consultants know their specializations and – while pitching the media – news they distribute is targeted outreach, not a mass mailing to a large list hoping something will stick.

Cover photo by Anastasia Dulgier on Unsplash