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.
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:
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.
Ensure you become a long-term trusted source.
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:
Be honest with yourself. If you answer ‘no’ to the above, realize the likelihood the journalist discards your news story is high.
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:
To learn more about media relations, read our latest eBook.