Do you have a story that you’d like to see in a newspaper or magazine? No matter how interesting you might find your news, the final say as to whether it appears goes to the journalist.
Contrary to what you might read or see in the movies, real life journalists tend to be very busy people who are working to strict hourly, daily, weekly and monthly deadlines.
They’ve got targets to hit, news articles to write and (normally) an editor on their case making sure this happens. So, when it comes to sending them press releases, there’s an art to getting them a) noticed and b) published.
Whilst there are no guarantees for getting an editorial piece published in the media, we do have a few pointers that you might like to consider…
Do your research
This is often overlooked! No matter how newsworthy you think your piece of news is, if you haven’t done your research about the editorial platform or magazine where you are trying to place it, the odds of getting featured are against you. Research the editorial outlet, look at the different types of stories they feature and Google their readership to make sure your news is a good fit. Consider tailoring your approach to fit the type and style of article they generally include.
Have a hook
Not only should your message tell a compelling story, it’s also got to have a strong angle or hook. A reason to publish! A hook can come in many forms. Whether it’s the headline, way of presenting your story, an image, a video, a question, a PR stunt or an amazing never-heard-before fact. Whatever it is, make sure your email/press release/headline includes it and tells the story in a heartbeat.
Get to the point
There’s only one place for long, waffly emails and unfortunately, that’s the bin. Think about it: who’s got time to read more than a couple of paragraphs nowadays? Especially if those paragraphs don’t really get to the crux of the story.
Is it newsworthy?
When we talk about newsworthiness, we mean ensuring that the story or piece of information is timely because it has recently occurred or is relevant to something that has recently occurred. This is what makes it news. Give the journalist a reason to publish it straight away. What makes it topical? It might tie into a national day, it could be trending on Twitter or maybe a new report has just been released that backs up your story.
Personalise your email
We can all tell when an email has been sent to the masses. Especially if it doesn’t even have your name on it. According to Deloitte, including the first name in your email marketing could boost open rates by 5.2% and personalising further could achieve anything between an 11% and 55% increase in open rates. And the same goes for journalists! Tailor your email specifically to them. You’ll get bonus points if you comment about some of the recent stories they have written. This way, they can see you have done your research.
Follow up on your email
Or try giving the newsdesk a ring. They’ll be able to put you in touch with the right reporter for the patch, and it’s always good to strike up conversation with the journo at the other end of the phone. You might even be able to find out if there is anything else they are working on that your business could contribute to. More often than not, the journalist might have just missed your email and needs another nudge. They’re only human, after all!
Here at Semaphore PR, we are experienced in working with journalists and securing coverage for a range of our clients in the local and national press.
In fact, our copywriter Becks has been working as a journalist for the past 7 years, so has first–hand experience of being on the other side.
So far this year we have secured coverage for our clients in a range of titles. If you have something you’d like to get covered but aren’t too sure how to go about it – or don’t have the time – then we’d be happy to have a no obligation chat.