What do journalists want?
That’s the question PR practitioners always ask when sending info to the media. The answer, of course, can vary. However, there are some common denominators that can help ensure your press release gets read, and used, by the media.
I am a journalist, and I have my own PR company. As a frequent guest on media panels, I am often asked by PR pros for tips on getting media coverage. So, several years ago, I asked some fellow reporters/writers for advice I could pass along to PR reps. After collecting the answers, I molded them into a short list I call…
Trela’s Top 10 Tips for Getting a Reporter’s Attention
- Anything that makes their job easier is great, anything that wastes their time isn’t. Learn what specific journalists cover, and use that to your advantage.
- Email is often the best way to reach a journalist or editor. Phone is second best. Fax still works in certain situations. Snail Mail is slowest, but some old school journalists still enjoy using a letter opener.
- The email subject line is there for a reason—use it wisely.
- Always use inverted pyramids when presenting info in a press release.
- Many (but not all) journalists love quotes in a press release. It can help round out a story if they’re pressed for time.
- Think twice before sending an email with an attachment. First, some email systems have firewalls to send emails with attachments into the Twilight Zone. Second, don’t make a journalist take extra time to open an attachment. Put everything in the body of an email.
- Make sure your information is correct, and use spell check.
- If you are asked to email photos, make sure they’re worthy of publication (in size, format and style)
- Be pleasant and professional when dealing with journalists. They’ll want to deal with you again.
- Be patient. Coverage may happen that day, that week, or that month—often when you least expect it.
Seems so simple, and it is. Reporters are incedibly busy people, and they barely have enough time to write their assigned articles, much less respond to PR requests for coverage. However, PR reps can increase the chances for coverage if you follow those 10 simple tips.
Got any tips to add to the list? I’d love to see them!
Thanks for reading! More PR and writing tips coming soon.
Christopher Trela / ArtsPR
Adjunct Professor of PR, Chapman University