Over the years I’ve spoken to a lot of people right across Australia in business, sporting clubs and not-for-profit organisations that struggle to get their story covered in traditional forms of media (TV, radio, newspaper, magazine). So, based on my experience, I’ve put together five basic tips to improve your chances.
1. Prepare a decent media release
Journalism these days is tougher than ever. Journalists are under intense pressure to deliver several good quality stories a day and put in big hours to deliver. So, do them a favour by sending a media release that follows the basic rules and provides them everything they need to know in the first few paragraphs. Make sure it has a good headline, the text is punchy and easy to understand, it needs to be interesting to a broader audience and try to give it the “est” factor (biggest, strongest, loudest, etc).
2. Make sure your news its timely
Your story needs to be happening right now, not a week ago or even yesterday. If you know you’ve got a newsworthy story coming up, prepare your release in advance so its ready to go. No outlet wants to cover old news.
3. Have a spokesperson available
Even if you’ve written the best media release ever, journos will often call for more quotes to make their coverage unique. It’s absolutely critical you have a contact person listed on the media release that is available to chat at short notice. Prep your spokesperson for radio, TV and newspaper interviews in advance and give them the information they need to speak well.
4. Have someone (or something) available for a photo or vision
Think about this before you send out your media release. Of course, not all stories have a good photo op, but if you do it greatly increases your chances of getting a run. The human element is always a good start (ie. the worker, the artist, school kids etc) as it resonates with audiences. Movement for television is also crucial (heavy equipment working, people participating in an activity, sporting clubs throwing a ball etc).
And, 99 times out of 100, they won’t use a photo or video you supply.
5. Respect journalistic integrity
Journalism is a craft. Advertising in media is a separate arm of business that allows the craft to survive. Placing advertising with an outlet does not have any influence on the stories that outlet decides to publish – and if you ask about it, you’ll often get a black mark against you. Advertorial on the other hand is perfectly acceptable; so have a chat to the outlet about your options for that instead.
Until next time,