3 essential elements to boost your media relations

How do you become better at media relations? First, you need to understand what journalists need.

Most journalists receive dozens of emails per day. Therefore, understanding what makes them choose your story over another is critical.

On that point, Mynewsdesk asked journalists what factors decide if they investigate or follow up on a pitch. Below are the three essential elements.

Be a trusted source

You could have a great story. However, if you are considered unreliable or untrustworthy, journalists will not cover your piece.

Credibility is, therefore, the critical factor (ranked #1 by journalists). Ask yourself these vital questions:

  • Do they trust the source of information?
  • Is the story newsworthy enough for the media outlet’s audience?
  • Does your press release sound like an undercover advertisement?

Of course, journalists regard credibility as important.

The fake news debacle of the last two years has undoubtedly affected traditional media.

Because of the pressure to report breaking news first, the media has made some mistakes. Stories journalist should have adequately vetted weren’t, and that has lead to the so-called fake news phenomenon.

Consequently, journalists need you to be transparent. And you need to reassure them of your true intentions. Meaning, their patience for promotional pitches is at an all-time low.

  • Credibility will become increasingly significant.
  • Be transparent, reliable and honest with the information you provide.
  • Don’t jeopardize ruining a relationship with inaccurate or misleading news.
  • Always double check your facts and be open about what you do or don’t know.

Ensure you become a long-term trusted source.

Give open access to knowledge and insights

Next, you and other professionals need to be readily approachable.

As journalists say, they value access to expertise or quality of quotes  (#2) when judging to follow up on a pitch.

Although many companies have in-house experts, journalists may not be taking advantage of them.

A potential problem could be how you are presenting your resources. Ask yourself:

  • Does your in-house expert provide enough insight into the story?
  • Are you providing a point of view that is of editorial value?
  • Is your news release clear of pushing a corporate agenda?

Be honest with yourself. If you answer ‘no’ to the above, realize the likelihood the journalist discards your news story is high.

Provide supporting media

The daily role of journalists has changed immensely. They now need skills in social media, coding, audience metrics, visual storytelling, etc. And they are expected to report stories quickly.

They are overwhelmed.

Therefore, journalists value efficiency of extracting information from a source (#3) and the availability of supporting media (#4).

Communicators must think more creatively about how they can help. Don’t only plant a seed of a story.  Think through how a journalist might tell it.

Ask yourself what resources they may need to write an excellent article. And, provide those additional resources (video assets, artwork, quotes, etc.).

Remember, most journalists are overworked, under stress and unsatisfied. So to succeed, you need to:

  • Build your credibility.
  • Give open access to knowledge and insights.
  • Provide supporting media.

To learn more about media relations, read our latest eBook.