Journalists are an interesting breed. They work in a specific way. Your role is to make their job as easy as possible. That means giving them the news story in the right way. It’s important to be aware of the types of things that will annoy journalists and could impact on any future working relationship. You want a ‘win-win’ working relationship not one that could damage your reputation. There are a number of issues you need to be aware of when dealing with journalists in relation to press releases – here a few to get you started.
1. Don’t send irrelevant material. Journalists are only interested in stories that are relevant to their audience. It can be tempting to build a single press and media target list and send your news off to everyone – don’t. Check your list and only send your news to those that are relevant. There are so many publications on and off line that there is much more scope for coverage. It’s can be tempting, too, to be lazy and just get the story out the door hoping that something will come from all those emails. Journalists will soon get frustrated if you continue to send them stories that are not relevant.
2. Don’t call a journalist when they are on deadline. You are bound to annoy them. Even if you have a decent story to tell them about it is unlikely you’ll get past first base if they are trying to finish an article for a looming deadline.
3. Don’t focus on your organisation in the story – focus on the news. This is not the opportunity for you to use the press release as an opportunity for countless mentions of your organisation.
4. Don’t put out a press release for the sake of it – only send one it which has real news value. Journalists are bombarded with post, email and telephone calls in relation to stories – well over 90% of those approaches are not pursued by the journalist because they do not have enough, or the right, news content.
5. Don’t send unsolicited attachments and jpegs to journalists. For many news organisations attachments and large files are blocked. Journalists need to see the top line of your news straight away – if you send an attachment you risk losing them before they’ve even read the first sentence. Also, large files can clog up in boxes and they won’t be particularly please about that.
These are just five of the issues that come up time and again with journalists. There is a lot of work you need to do to get journalists interested in your story – fail to take these points into account and you might as well not bother.
Using PR to build your profile and protect your reputation can help you influence the audiences that are important to you – I invite you to access more free articles, tips and information on this and other subjects by visiting the ‘free stuff’ section of the website – http://www.profilematters.co.uk/resources.php
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Debbie Leven – Profile Matters – [http://www.profilematters.co.uk/]PR Consultants UK