Increase Your Chances of Media Exposure Success

Successfully pitching a story to the media and achieving the coverage you hoped for is tough. Even the seasoned public relations pro know there’s no guarantee their pitch will make it to print or television. Reporters are bombarded with story ideas and, along with their editors; they must sift through the story suggestions (not to mention cover the stories that are banging at their doors) and find the ones newsworthy enough to follow.

The truth is there’s no magic formula and there’s no guarantee. At Caliber, we never make a promise that’s out of our hands to deliver, but we pride ourselves on taking the right steps to guarantee the best possible outcomes for our clients.  Several important elements make up the earned media equation. Knowing how to write a good release, strategically planned timing, targeting the right media and creating the right messages are all factors that must be carefully executed.

There are some basic things to know that will increase your chances of earning coverage. Some are really simple – like never send an attachment in an e-mail. Often a reporter’s spam filter will chuck it if it’s got an attachment. Others are a bit more strategic, such as knowing your news’ timeliness.

Try the following suggestions and…well, we can’t guarantee your story will receive coverage, but your chances are significantly higher if you do!

  • Ask yourself if it’s newsworthy and why people will care. How will it affect them?  This is the most important first step. Examine your news with an outsider’s, critical eye. It may be a big deal to you, but will the average person care?
  • Make sure you have the who, what, when, where and why in your press release. If it’s missing critical info, a journalist may put it to the side and either skip it or mean to check on it later and forget.
  • Include as much information as succinctly as possible.
  • If your news is to announce an event, don’t forget to mention things like time, date, cost, dress code – anything that the public may need to know. If it’s not a public event, ask yourself why you’re writing a press release in the first place.
  • Time it smartly. Again, if it’s for an event and you need to sell tickets, don’t wait till the week before. Get your release out a month or more to the media. Then send another one out a few days before reminding people of the event. You can even go so far as to send out a third release announcing how the event went. This is particularly good for nonprofits.  Always think of the media opportunities out there. Timing is crucial. It’s better to send too far in advance and then send out reminders to reporters than it is to send it too late.
  • Remember your audience. If you’re sending this to the daily newspaper, then all types of readers will be seeing your news so keep it general. If it’s going to a business newspaper, tell the readers why it’s important financially, economically, etc. If it’s going to an entertainment newspaper, make it upbeat and eye-catching.
  • Know the publication’s deadline schedule.

Of course partnering with a professional consultant or agency is always a viable option for companies who do not have the time or the expertise to follow each of these steps necessary to achieve positive news coverage.  Understanding the process of determining newsworthy content will give you an advantage when working with your agency partner, making it a win-win situation for both of you.

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