Reporters want to help you, they really do. They wish they had all of the news space in the world to run every press release – well, the cohesive ones – that come across their desks. But, there’s only so many hours in the day, editors to answer to, deadlines, interviews to conduct, writing to do, oh – did I mention deadlines?
Entrepreneurs are always looking to get media coverage and most rarely do. News reporters want to cover cool stories. They want pieces that are fresh and unique. Opening a boutique, expanding your staff or looking for new clients is not going to get you ink or a spot on their website – well, unless they are desperate for filler.
So what are you doing wrong? Here are 5 Ways to NOT Get News Coverage:
- Writing ads and calling it news. That’s great that your nonprofit is awesome and making a difference. So what? Isn’t every nonprofit awesome? Instead of telling people how fantastic your mission is, talk about the impact you will be making in the neighborhood, the problems you are solving and for goodness’ sake, get some quotes from people from the neighborhood. No one cares what your Executive Director has to say, we want to hear from the people being “changed.”
- Randomly sending your press release. There is nothing an education beat reporter loves more than receiving a long email about why they should cover the grand opening of your new bakery. Take the time to read mastheads and see who writes what, read some of their articles and here’s a thought – gasp – call the assignment desk and ASK the best place to submit your news.
- Poorly formatting your press release. Please, please stop putting things in all caps, italics and weird formatting. Remember how some items are used as filler for news holes? Your press release is less likely to be used if it has to be retyped. It should be easy to copy and paste your document. Keep the font simple – Arial or Times New Roman. If you can say it in 500 words or less, do it. Try to keep the release short and on one page.
- Submitting your press release on the wrong timetable. Don’t send a weekly newspaper a press release about something happening tomorrow. Don’t contact a TV station seeking coverage for an event that is happening next month. Know the news outlet and their publishing/airing schedule. You do want to submit things in advance, but not so early that it gets lost in the shuffle.
- Sending blanket story pitches. Do not include media outlets A, B and C on the same email and story pitch. Why would competing companies want to run the same exact story? Determine the right news outlet for the story you want to pitch and contact them directly. An important mass announcement or breaking news item is the exception.