One of the most frequent questions we get when planning a major announcement is “should we go for an exclusive?” As with many things in PR, there’s no clear answer. It depends on the specific circumstances, and on how you define success. Still, it is possible to reach a logical conclusion. Let’s walk through the five factors to consider.

1.     Importance. Let’s get the most obvious question out of the way… is an exclusive even possible? If your news isn’t meaningful enough to draw significant eyeballs from the publication’s audience, no journalist will agree to an exclusive. They simply won’t care. What’s “meaningful” is subjective, and your PR agency should be able to help you walk through the considerations. A simple example: a $15M investment round probably isn’t enough for an exclusive, while a $150M round is. But add interesting investors to the $15M round? Maybe…

2.     Angle. As touched on above, sometimes a good PR team can come up with a story angle that’s interesting enough to elevate otherwise mundane news. That said, we don’t have a magic wand… I can’t make TechCrunch care about your news just because it’s important to you and/or your target prospects. But I can ask you probing questions, and you should be ready to share details. Speaking of which…

3.     Disclosures. Are you willing to share the details it will take to land an exclusive? For funding news, this might require overall valuation. For product news, it might be a brand name customer that’s willing to speak with the reporter. And for goodness sake be realistic… I’ve had clients get cold feet minutes before an interview with a major business publication, which doesn’t look good for anyone, and guarantees disaster.

4.     Metrics. Which is better: one article in a high value publication or 30 across a combination of first and second tier outlets? There’s no right or wrong answer, but it’s important to consider the question. It may be possible to achieve both – ask us how! – but it’s entirely possible that by going for an exclusive, you’re giving up on much broader coverage that might be more valuable for customer traction, partnerships, etc.

5.     Success. What does success look like? Are you going to put your chips on the exclusive, only to have a three-paragraph summary rather than the 800 word feature article you were expecting? Have you had that discussion with your PR team… and with the journalist?  If you’re expecting the larger article, are you providing the background (customers, industry impact, education, etc.) and – most importantly – the time needed for the reporter to flesh out the story? If they’re fairly new to the space, and on deadline, expect a summary, not a treatise.

There you have it. Five factors we discuss with every client that wants an exclusive. Keep in mind, these only help you decide whether to go for an exclusive… not how to do so. If you’re looking for strategy guidance and exceptional execution, you know where to find us.