How can I get the media interested?

05/10/2016

Unfortunately, what may be important to you and your organisation is not necessarily seen in the same way by the news media.

The secret is to know the answer to the fundamental question – what makes news? Once you understand how to get journalists interested in your world, you can produce press releases with confidence – knowing they are unlikely to be binned or deleted without even being read.

In fact, all news falls into a remarkably small number of categories:

  • Conflict. Issues involving differences of opinion or controversy; virtually all politics (best avoided!).
  • Human interest. People are interested in other people. Often a business’s best story are the personal reasons why it was set up in the first place.
  • Events. Significant happenings such as natural disasters, major sport or royal occasions. By getting involved these can provide PR opportunities.
  • Relevance. Things that affect us directly – the weather, prices, events close to home. If you’re approaching local media, emphasise your local connections.
  • The unusual. Any kind of record-breaking; things out of the ordinary, quirky or funny.
  • Images. Sometimes the picture makes the story.
  • Topicality. Things which connect to what is already news.

The trick is to try and ensure that what you have to say embraces at least one of these categories, and ideally more than one.

Topicality has particular potential for organisations wanting to establish a media profile. Journalists are instinctively more receptive to what is already in the news. You can exploit the opportunity – perhaps by commenting on the impact of a government policy or revealing a relevant business trend.

In all of this, there is always a need for finesse and timing. Finally – never forget the importance of answering the “so what?” factor. See it from the journalist’s point of view. If it’s not of interest to them, it probably won’t be to anyone else!