Public relations is about finding the most effective and appropriate way to get news out about your clients. However, there is no one-size fits all solution when it comes to sharing client news. Knowing your target audience, purpose and goals are key to successfully publicizing events or news and will help determine if a press release or a news pitch is the best way to get the story out.

Press releases and pitches have similar goals, but their purpose, structure and execution differ greatly. Knowing the difference is important because the two PR tools target different audiences and can produce widely varying results.  In general, a press release aims to communicate exactly what happened or will be happening, while a media pitch explains why a story angle or event is newsworthy and deserves coverage from a particular journalist.

News pitches are persuasive letters written to capture the interest of a journalist. Press releases are unbiased accounts of something newsworthy like special event or promotion.

Press releases are “official” statements whose objective structure tends to lend credibility to the subject matter. Press releases are frequently distributed by wire services and can reach very wide audiences. Pickup by media outlets can be hit or miss. Some media outlets run press releases as is, while others assign a reporter to follow up with personalized interviews.

Press releases, because of their formality, lend credibility to the events or subjects they are promoting. Press releases can save reporters time-consuming work by providing quotes, background information, perspective and contact details for key subjects.

Pitches are a more tailored form of press outreach that is laser-focused on the type of outlet and the topics covered by reporters. Pitches are sent only to specific reporters and news outlets in the spirit of saving time and putting potential stories in front of reporters who have subject matter expertise on the topic in question. Pitches are often tailored for a specific reporter or news outlet, which can be helpful with source building and establishing long term media relationships.

Generally speaking, pitches tend to be more personal than press releases, which by their nature are factual, objective and formal.

Knowing which to use depends on your client’s goal, target audience and desired reach.

Need help capturing the interest of the media? Red Banyan’s media outreach and media relations experts are available to help.