Are you looking to achieve more coverage in national newspapers and magazines? Or perhaps the idea you’re working on isn’t quite getting the traction you hoped for? Achieving national coverage can be tough. It can be a game of ‘trial and error’ discovering what works for your story. There are many things you should consider when reaching out to a journalist, so here are five fundamentals to mull over for when you’re next looking to get national press coverage.
#1 Speak to the right person
It always helps to talk to the right person at that media title. Establish that you’re talking to someone that is in a position to write about the marketplace you are in, or perhaps can offer vital feedback. Without acknowledging this first, you risk wasting time and energy going through the length of your pitch, to then get to the point where the journalist replies with a “something I don’t cover” response.
#2 Be agile
You need to be agile with your approach. If you’ve phoned 75 per cent of your target list and you have a feeling that the item you’re promoting isn’t going to fly, then take a step back. Revisit the core idea and see if it can be altered to make it more appealing. If it’s a research story for example, perhaps see if there are any other results you could focus on, and give yourself a fresh news title with a new reason to go out to press.
#3 Keep going
Sensitive to rejection? Don’t be. You have to be prepared to hear a lot of nos before you catch a lead. Try not to be too disheartened if the first few calls aren’t going so well. Ensure you have the key points of what you’re selling in, and most importantly why the journalist will care about writing about them for their readers.
#4 Yes, meetings are good!
It’s always a good idea to soft pitch your ideas to a journalist before you’ve written up the press release. We’d strongly recommend meeting a couple of journalists, whether it’s a desk appointment or coffee, to gauge their initial thoughts on ideas you may have. Don’t underestimate the power of a face-to-face meet as there will be some gems of advice from the journalist. They may also offer support in shaping your idea and provoking thoughts on angles you’ve not considered.
Setting up meetings will help build relationships with journalists. You may find it hard to secure that meeting, however having an existing relationship will help. Here is some sound advice from Cision offering top tips to build a better relationship with a journalist.
#5 Where’s the opportunity?
If there’s a golden rule then this is it. Know where you can place your story and foresee all opportunities. It’s essential that you’re aware of the media landscape, keeping on top of the news and scanning to see if your idea has already been done. The last thing you want to happen is going out with a story that’s already been covered two months ago. Research is crucial. Also, think about whether your angle can be adapted to suit different sections of the media. Could you possibly add a twist to reach out to other sections of the newspapers – rather than just the news sections?