Should you offer an exclusive?

Startups frequently ask us, "Should I offer so-and-so an exclusive?" While there's no right answer to this question, there are many things for you to consider when making your decision.


  • Exclusives save you time. By focusing on one writer or one publication, you don't need to worry about developing a large media list or coordinating an embargo. You take your story to a reporter to publication and allow them to handle the coverage so you can focus on other aspects of your business.

  • Exclusives allow you to build relationships. While you’re not reaching out to a huge press list, an exclusive means you’re developing a stronger relationship with the reporter to whom you’re offering the exclusive. This is particularly valuable with a high-profile reporter, and in the future, they’ll be more receptive to giving you coverage.

  • Exclusives ensure you’ll be heard. Rather than pitching to multiple outlets and having your news get lost in the media fray, offering an exclusive to a select interested party ensures that your message will be heard.


  • Exclusives limit prospects. You can’t pitch other reporters when you’ve already offered someone an exclusive. Other media outlets might feel burned if you offer one outlet an exclusive over them, and they could hold it against you in the future.

dear PR people: don't lie. i know when you gave another publication the exclusive. don't tell me some vague story — i can read the internet

— Kia K. (@imkialikethecar)

October 16, 2014


  • Reporters are circumspect of exclusives. Many reporters will wonder: If this is good news, why are you limiting its reach? Ensure that you have a good reason to offer this particular piece of news to this particular media outlet as an exclusive.

  • You’re gambling with the news cycle. When you offer an exclusive, you’re gambling with the prospect that other big news will break and bump you out of relevancy.

A word of caution…

Don't do "fake" exclusives.

— Anthony Ha (@anthonyha)

February 19, 2014

 TL;DR Offering an exclusive can save you time and help build a relationship with a reporter, but you might not get the impact you are looking for.