This week children up and down the country went back to school. Faced with new rules to be able to manage social distancing, there are new procedures to get used to. But the basics remain the same. Wash hands regularly with soap and water and keep your distance. The first few weeks of school are usually refresher weeks to get the pupils back into the swing of things, remind them what school is all about and to recap some if the previous year’s topics. 

So, in the spirit of the back to school week, this blog will go back to basics on getting your news out there – because the basics matter in media relations. 

Choose the right press relations tool
A press release is the bread and butter of media relations but is it the best one that will get you the quality coverage? Would pitching to a specific journalist be a better option? Or perhaps an expert comment piece? Choosing the right tool to communicate your news is imperative in getting media coverage.

Do you research
Make sure you are sending your news to the right journalist who will be covering your area. If you have media lists already saved make sure you check and update them. 

Issue your news at the right time – Fridays are not usually the best days to send out a release. I’ve always found the beginning of the week to be a more successful time. Would an embargo help? If you’re wanting coverage on breakfast radio, find out who is producing that show 36 hours before hand and contact them direct. If you want broadcast coverage you will need to pitch to them a few days prior, so you have time to set up the filming. Timing is really important when making announcements – think about it. Don’t just press send, and hope. 

Communicate with clarity
Keep your message simple and to the point. Don’t fill the release or pitch email with jargon. Give the reporter the who, what, where and why and make sure it’s relatable to them. Have an eye-catching subject heading for your email so it will stand out.  If you need more about this, check out my previous blog on why this is so important. 

Spokespeople and interviews
If you have got someone within your organisation who can speak about the news you are announcing then highlight this within the Notes to Editors section. But an important point – if you are going to offer someone for interview, they must be available when a journalist asks. Do no issue a release with a spokesperson who is on holiday or does not want to do media interviews. 

Video and images
If you have video and images to complement your story allow the reporter to access them easily. Do not attach a 10mb image to the email, they will not thank you for it. Use a dropbox or a google folder and share the link with them in the release. Video and images can really add to a story so think about this carefully. Video is such an important part of the marketing mix now, you may want to consider producing a video about the news. 

Following the advice above will give any organisation a really good chance in securing quality media coverage but the main rule is this – your story must be news. It has to be new. It has to say something. And it has to be relatable to the news outlet you are sending it to.

If you’re unsure about whether your story has media legs, then get in touch and we can discuss it.