Journalists and Public Relations practitioners have a complicated, symbiotic relationship: sometimes more hate than love, and others vice versa.
Being effective at any form of media relations comes down to nurturing relationships that work.
But thanks to the 24-hour news cycle; smaller (ever-changing) staff with bigger workloads; less editorial space; and decreased job stability (to name a few challenging factors), making these meaningful connections with the media is tough going!
Given journalists’ time is at a premium and they’re trying to do more with less, now more than ever it is important to package your media release(s) in an accessible way. Some things to consider:
Is it worthy of the news?
Before you even put pen to paper, ask:
- Is this interesting?
- Why is it interesting?
- To whom is this interesting?
Hot tip: Please remember that while your brand’s news is important to you, it might not be equally interesting or valuable to the mainstream media.
(However, just because your news is not “news-worthy” doesn’t mean it is not useful. Consider how this information could be packaged up and used on other communications channels.)
Tick, tock, timely
The relentless “live news cycle” means the timeliness of content counts for a whole lot.
In short, don’t give journalists old news. The adage rings true: yesterday’s news is old news and modern media consumers don’t want old news, they crave the next update, they want news as it happens!
Front-load your release
Mass communications academics call it the “inverted pyramid”: lead with the most important, interesting, newsworthy, attention-grabbing information and taper content in order of diminishing importance. This structure means a journalist can grab everything they need in order to progress your release, in the first paragraphs.
Include a visual
Photo (head shot, action shot, product shot), graphic or infographic: always include a publication-ready, visual element with your media release.
Make your headline work for you
Not all people like it, but the headline and sub headline combo is useful because it can capture attention and offer quick-look context; it’s handy, double duty!
Lead with a punchy and accurate main headline; and follow with a slightly longer, descriptor sub-heading to provide some context.
Hot tip: write your headlines last because your messaging will be front of mind.