12 Oct 2015, 11:09 — 3 min read
I’ve been a journalist for more than 22 years, covering everything from business to entertainment. During this time, I have seen many companies, particularly small and medium enterprises, trying to gain a name for themselves via public relations. As an editor, I scanned all the press releases that were sent to me, and decided what to carry in the publications I worked for, and what to drop.
From that perspective, I would like to share with you what I perceive as best practices for business owners like yourself to get better traction in the media.
1. Be brief.
An editor or reporter can receive more than 200 press releases and something like 50 PR phone calls every day. It is simply not possible for them to attend to every piece of PR information while also completing their own tasks. Ensure that the material you send to the media, whether it goes from a PR agency or through your own offices, presents the information you want to convey clearly and briefly, in the first paragraph. The first paragraph may be all that an editor, with very little time to spare, will read.
2. Be patient.
You may find that journalists do not respond to your press releases. That is because they may not need your information at the time that you send it, however useful you may perceive it to be. But do not be disheartened. If the editor judges that the information is potentially useful, she or he will definitely store it and your contact details until it is needed. Journalists do not simply throw away information. After all, the basis of their job is information.
3. Be available.
Always ensure that you can be reached by a journalist at any time and that even if you can’t spare the time to talk to a reporter at that moment, you will make yourself available as soon as possible. Journalists deal with breaking news and it is not always possible for them to schedule appointments in advance. The more accessible you are to reporters, the more often you be quoted as a subject expert in the media.
4. Be communicative.
Journalists are always looking for subject experts to quote in their articles, or to share information with their publication’s readers. The more you write articles that selflessly and sincerely share your expertise and learning without trying to sell your products and services, the more the media will treat you as an expert. Try and write as often as you can, and aim to be published not only in national publications, but also trade publications relevant to your industry, and networking sites like GlobalLinker. The more you have published, the better you will be known, and the greater your chances of reaching a wider and deeper market for your business.