Go Back To Basics To Get Your Story Into The Media


IN an era of increasingly complex communications – blogs, satellite, digital, podcasts – business people could be excused for wondering how it’s best to achieve coverage in the media.

The methodologies may have become more multifaceted, but facts – the news – will always prevail. So the most cost-effective way is still to submit a newsworthy story about your business and let the technology look after itself.

While ‘cold’ calls to journalists are in no way out of place, as often as not they welcome receiving information in writing. So send a concise press release by email, fax or post.

The story

Your story should be written in journalistic style, be free of jargon, and possess as strong a news angle as it can. Write it in as detached a way as possible in the third person, restricting “I” and “we” to the quotes.

Put a headline at the top. Keep it simple, and make sure these few words invite the journalist to read on.

The opening paragraphs should explain, in summary, what your story is all about. Get to the point quickly. Then you can go into a little more detail. Give crisp quotes from the person who is most important to the story. The quotes should offer an opinion, not just repeat facts.

Overall, remember to answer the key questions: who, what, when, where, how and why?

Keep to the point, and write in short sentences. One paragraph sentences are a good idea. And avoid the use of exclamation marks – they’re much overused.

At the end of your story – and this is vital – write your name and contact details ‘for further information’ so that journalists can reach you easily.

Sometimes, it’s worthwhile writing two or more versions of the same story. The news angle that will interest a magazine that specialises in your trade won’t necessarily appeal to your local newspaper.

Where possible, your news should be humanised or personalised, especially for the general media. That’s because, whether your story is about a product, an event or whatever else you wish to promote, readers of newspapers and magazines and listeners to radio and TV programmes like to read and hear about people.

Media

Be realistic and target your ‘core’ media. These are the ones with which you will have the best chances of success. Don’t waste time and effort trying to get covered by a national TV station if interest in your story will be limited to the local newspaper.

Timing

There isn’t always a right time to send your story to your chosen media, but don’t, for example, send it to your local weekly newspaper – aimed at inclusion that week – on the morning that they go to press.

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