As a communications person, I am often asked how to breakthrough the noisy news environment to be noticed. Of course as David Brinkley once famously said, “the news is what I say it is”. So the first thing clients need to know is that their news is not the only news. While he said that before the age of social media it is still very true today that the world’s “editors” and “reporters” do dictate what becomes newsworthy. So here are some of the golden rules:Try to make your story ubiquitous on your “channels” Take advantage of the media you control. Click To Tweet
- Understand what your “news” really is. By that I mean understand the why – why is your news important to others, what do they really need to know. In the professional services environment, I can’t tell you how many times a practitioners would believe that launching a new service was newsworthy. The media, regardless of their medium, do not exist for you to sell a service. However, if there is a proven issue or problem that you have a unique (and I use unique advisedly) you may have a chance. Otherwise, buy an advertisement.
- Decide to whom your news is important. Taking the time to know who you are trying to reach and which media are most effective in reaching them, helps you to focus your effort and fine-tune your messages.
- Know how timely/time sensitive your news is. If your news could be just as important a week from now as today, think about whether this is the best time to release your news. If your news is urgent, act accordingly.
- Give the media your news in a way that makes it important for their audiences. Whether it’s a blogger or the national news, media understand to whom they speak and try to convey news accordingly. For example, mommy bloggers might not appear to be interested in seniors’ issues, if you talk about the impact your issue might have on the families of the elders, it becomes a lot more relevant.
- Provide the media with all the background information they need. How many times have I had to explain that a media release does not generate news! Think of the release as your calling card. It is designed to peak interest in your news. Make sure the essence of your news is in the first 50 words of your release – that’s all a reporter has time to read. If you catch their eye in the first 50 words, make sure the rest of the release answers the; who, what, when and why for the reporter.
- Be accessible to answer questions. Sending out a release and not being available for the reporter to follow-up with you, is quite simply discourteous. The news cycle is 24/7 so you and your spokespeople should be available for follow-up throughout the days following your release.
- If at all possible, make your news visual. Social media, TV news, newspapers and magazines like visuals. If your story can be told with a photo, a graph, an infographic or some other visual means, provide the visual. A powerful visual is truly worth 1000 words!
Take advantage of the media you control. When you put out a release or release your story, with today’s tools, you can also be a reporter. Use all the news vehicles you control to get out your story. – social media can help you amplify your news through your followers and your followers’ followers.