It’s business nature to try to reduce your risk as far as possible, and when you think about putting all your eggs in one basket, you’re probably thinking; “that’s a no from me”. In many situations, we’d agree with you.
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It’s business nature to try to reduce your risk as far as possible, and when you think about putting all your eggs in one basket, you’re probably thinking; “that’s a no from me”. In many situations, we’d agree with you.

Putting your story in the hands of one publication can seem risky because what if they run the story incorrectly, or they don’t run it at all? But, in contrast, when you use the spray and pray method, you stand a chance to have a massive fall out too! So the question is, when should you share news to the media exclusively?

What is an exclusive distribution?

Let’s start from the beginning; an exclusive distribution means that you give your story/news to one publication exclusively. This means this publication and journalist will be the first to cover the news and share it.

This does not mean you can pitch multiple journalists, and hope that someone responds and then give them the exclusive. You will need to pitch one journalist and publication with your press release and additional information and once they have shared the information you can freely contact other publications with follow-ups on the news with new or different angles.

What kind of exclusivity is there? 

There are different types of media exclusives which are dependent on the market you are engaging in, the industry you are targeting, whether it is a global or local exclusive and if there are time options available. Some publications, for example, put a time constraint on the news, so that you must wait a period before you can send the information to other publications.

To know how to engage and the process to follow you need to have an existing relationship with the publication or journalist, or you need to be transparent and clear on the requirements and expectations from both parties.

Why are exclusives valuable? 

Exclusives can be an excellent idea for many reasons and often far outperform mass media pitching. Here’s why.

  1. PR is all about relationship building. Most journalists do not like to write about topics that have already been covered. A great way to build a valuable relationship with journalists is to give them stories that are exclusively theirs to publish.
  2. Targeting one specific publication can be more effective than spraying and praying all over town. Contacting every journalist you know (or dont know for that matter), with a generic pitch is not going to help you get published (it could do the exact opposite).
  3. When appropriately executed an exclusive can generate more value than a broad announcement. When you put your newsworthy eggs in the right baskets, your audience could just be waiting for those eggs. It is better to be calculated in how you approach the media and your launch.

When to offer an exclusive? 

If you have a story that needs context or requires background knowledge and is more likely to be attractive to a specific type of media, then you should pitch exclusively. A more targeted approach will most likely bring more value to your business, and you’ll give the journalist more time to write a full background story.

When you decide to offer an exclusive, ensure you have done your research. Understand the audience the news is relevant, know the writing style of the journalist that will distribute it and have a broad understanding of the publications reach. It would be best if you didn’t give an exclusive about a topic that is not in alignment with the journalist’s writing and the audience of the publication.

When to not offer an exclusive:

When the story is of general interest such as current affairs or a breaking news story and offers tangible newsworthiness (run your story through this newsworthy test here), your story should be shared widely.

When stories do not need background knowledge or context, you can choose to send out a direct-distribution or send out an embargoed release to multiple outlets. Your approach should depend on the news and what will have the highest impact for you.

Optimize your communications by downloading your free PR Starter Pack for startups and get your communication plan ready for 2021.

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