Getting a story in the newspapers, or on television, is a great way of getting publicity. And it’s free. Not only that. You pick up a little credibility by getting your stories in the media. It’s a powerful way of enhancing your brand.
But it can be really tough getting the media to pay attention to you. Here are a few tips from my perspective as a former journalist. I’ve worked in newspapers, radio and television. I’ve been a reporter, a producer and an executive.
First, accept there may be a disconnect between what you want and what a newspaper or television station wants.
You want publicity – promotion.
A newsroom wants a news story. They do not want to give you free advertising. That’s what commercials are for.
So you need to give them something that looks and sounds like a news story.
- Adopt a news style of writing
- Keep it simple; avoid hype, steer clear of jargon
- Build your information around a real person
- It has to be new and different
- Identify obstacles that have been overcome
- Make it relevant to a broad audience
- Keep it short
People in newsrooms are busy. So help them:
- Write a headline that makes readers go ‘wow’
- Write a first sentence that gets to the hear of what’s new and exciting
- Put a human face on it – with people and quotes
- Put it into context; explain why it matters
- Emphasize why it’s such an achievement
- Make sure the contact details are included
- Try to keep it all on one page
Finally, don’t rely on faxes and emails. Lift up the phone. Make a call. Your enthusiasm is your best friend when it comes to promoting an idea to the media.