media coverage

Score media coverage: how to get journalists to write about you

Favourable media coverage can be a powerful asset for your business. A positive PR campaign can boost brand awareness, build credibility and get your business in front of the right people. In fact, media outreach can be 90% more effective than advertising in influencing consumer behaviour.

With so much to gain from influential press coverage, it’s no wonder that journalists are so in demand. Getting the attention of a reporter can be incredibly difficult for businesses who don’t have a strategy in place. Here are our top tips for getting a journalist to write about you.

Build relationships with journalists

Getting the attention of a journalist can be difficult for businesses if there is no relationship there to begin with. If you develop these relationships before you start pitching, you’ll have a greater chance of getting coverage when it’s time.

One of the best ways to develop relationships with reporters is by leveraging social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. According to PR Daily, a whopping 93% of PR professionals follow journalists on Twitter.

Connecting with individual reporters could be as simple as following them, and making comments on their posts. It’s important to not be pushy, but praise them publicly, share their articles and be genuine.

Timing is everything

When you’re ready to reach out to a journalist, the timing of the conversation is everything. 85% of PR professionals say that morning is the best time to send a pitch, with 64% of journalists agreeing.

The correct day to send a pitch is debatable. In most industries, Monday is when most people focus on clearing emails or tasks from the previous week.

Fridays may be carved out for finalising deadlines or simply tying up loose ends before signing off for the week. This leaves the middle of the workweek as the day reporters are most likely to engage with your pitch.

Know who and what you’re pitching

You might struggle to get the attention of a journalist if you send a news story that isn’t relevant to them. This is why it’s important to research journalists ahead of time to find out exactly which stories they cover first.

Journalists and media outlets may only publish specific topics on a specific industry. Therefore, pitching a story that doesn’t speak to their favoured topic is a waste of their time and yours.

It’s equally important to understand a publication’s audience. Top PR professionals know which journalist will be interested in a particular story. But they can also explain exactly why a story will be of interest to a journalist’s particular demographic.

Finding the right media outlet is also important. If you have a small business, for example, you can leverage local newspapers for positive publicity. This is especially powerful for stories that show how businesses support their local communities.

No matter which outlet you’re targeting, from large publications to local level news, your business can reap the benefits.

Use email to contact journalists directly

Email is seen by most public relations professionals as the very best way to contact a journalist. It’s a practical method that allows you to communicate a pitch clearly, concisely and quickly. It also gives you an opportunity to stand out with a well thought out subject line.

You should treat your email as a condensed version of your press release, and it should be tailored to the reporter you’re contacting. Follow up on your pitch so that you can start to build rapport with the journalist.

Create attractive content

Journalists actively search for information online like most people. They access information through the web and on social media. Media attention, therefore can be obtained by making your business more ‘findable’ with interesting content.

Usually, the content that attracts attention is newsworthy stories, such as timely and impactful human interest stories. Fortunately, there are many ways to create and publish stories yourself. You could publish content in the form of a blog post, for example, or leverage the power of Google news.

If you’re writing contributed content for a reporter, you’d be creating the content and then pitching that content to journalists. You’ll have more creative control over contributed content, but you’ll have to grab attention with something entertaining or informative.

Google News

The recent algorithm update for Google News ensures that authentic, original and helpful content is prioritised. Low-quality content designed only to attract clicks by using SEO techniques, on the other hand, is downplayed.

This is great news for PR professionals and businesses who publish original and newsworthy content to inform their readers. PR professional Adam Driver says, ‘if you’re doing this right, then this should help your content and traffic.’

Crafting the perfect pitch

Every day, journalists are inundated with pitches, which is why it’s important to set yourself apart. Top agency professionals spend decades perfecting strategies to grab the interest of journalists, editors or media outlets. Some of the best tips include the following:

  • Make sure your pitch is relevant
  • Keep your pitch short and concise
  • Write an eye-catching subject line
  • Be polite but assertive
  • Always follow up but don’t nag
  • Triple-check your grammar and spelling

If you have a great idea that you’d like to pitch to the media, it’s worth sticking to these tips. If you don’t, your business may struggle to get the media coverage it deserves. According to PR News, journalists respond to just above 3% of pitches, rejecting almost 97%.

Digitise your press releases

Writing an eye-catching press release is an all-important part of PR and marketing. Press releases have to present something newsworthy about your business, such as an announcement about a new product or event. These stories often affect a large number of people, have emotional elements and are timely.

Thanks to technology, press releases can now provide much greater visibility than before. A digitised press release can contain enhanced content that makes a journalist’s work much easier. They can also contain a multimedia component that addresses questions about your business, with links to relevant content.

Would you like to get more media coverage for your business? Contact our public relations experts for a FREE 30-minute consultation.