The cover letter for a press release is a crucial tool when reaching out to an editor. A press release cover letter allows you to tailor your pitch to a particular publication and helps your press release stand out from the huge number of press releases an editor may receive in a single day. Whether you are sending your press release through email or snail mail, including an effective cover letter will go a long way in gaining effective placement for your press release.
Address the editor by name, and make sure you send your press release cover letter to the editor of the appropriate publication section. For example, if your press release is about an upcoming fundraiser for a local charity, address your press release to the publication's community editor.
Give a brief description of the event or reason for the press release. Be sure to include information that would be a draw, but don't repeat your press release word for word in the cover letter.
Explain why the particular publication should cover your news event. Show that you have done your research about the publication you are writing to, and why this event would be of interest to their readers.
Offer an interesting angle for the publication regarding your press release. An editor wants to offer his readers unique content, and the easier you make his job the more likely he is to cover your press release. You may offer to set up interviews with important sources, provide access to exclusive events or think of creative ways to cover the event.
Include your contact information and encourage the editor to follow up with you. About a week after you send out the press release and cover letter, contact the editor via email or telephone him to make sure he received your letter.
While sending out press releases is a numbers game, a few well-researched and well-written cover letters can be more effective than sending out 50 generic press releases.
Double-check all spelling, grammar, and contact information. Nothing is worse than working all day to send out press releases only to realize after the fact that your phone number is wrong.
Don't include any false information in your press release or cover letter in order to get coverage for your event. A good editor will do her research, and a damaged reputation can ruin your public relations career.