Without betraying any confidences, I have a small secret to share: Not all journalists hate press releases. Indeed, on a good day there are many reasons for a journalist to love a good press release.
Here are the three love-inducing things.
Fitting the current news cycle
A press release that has its timing spot on, and that lands with a journalist at just the right time has a great chance of receiving attention. It might be that it arrives within a heart-beat of an important breaking news story and is full of information that is so current that it hits the right spot. From a journalist’s point of view there is nothing quite like getting a release from an organisation that you fully expect should be speaking out about an issue, at the height of that issue being in the news.
Currency. Hey presto!
Being a time-saver
For busy journalists a well-prepared, well thought out and well-written release will especially hit a sweet spot if it saves them time and points them to what they need to know. That means a release that answers the obvious questions that a journalist could be anticipated to ask – that has all the wheels of solid information on it, and isn’t just an exercise in spinning wheels! Small touches matter. If it’s a release where some data (numbers) would make a logical headline you wouldn’t bury those numbers and waste a journalist’s time. If it’s a release that is unavoidably complex and academic, look to put the simple and direct information first. Just as you would in a conversation where you don’t want to lose someone’s attention.
Be loved. Save a journalist time.
Line up your values
The values that will line up with what a journalist loves aren’t hard to guess. Is what you’re putting out as relevant to a wider public, or target audience, and as worthy of a news story as it needs to be? Is it too self-referential and not focused enough on what really matters – the number one thing being accurate and reliable information. If you’re going to be a credible source, or even a go-to source for a journalist the next time round, the best place to start is to respect their sense of what makes for a newsworthy story or news angle.
No respect, no love.
A press release isn’t a love letter. Some journalists just want the facts. In a relentless world of producing news and information 24 hours a day and seven days a week, those occasions when a journalist receives a release that is current, time-saving and shares their sense of news value you can be hopeful that you will (eventually) win them over.
Written by Medianet’s Marketing team
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