Newsmaker surveyed over 2,000 journalists to find out you you can avoid common pitfalls when communicating your story ideas to media. Whether you send a press release, write a letter or make a phone call, you’ll improve your hit rate by taking this advice on board.
- Make sure your release is relevant to the media outlet, or you risk the journalists pressing the delete key for all your future releases. That means understanding the media and doing a lot research yourself.
- Don’t exaggerate the importance of your press release, especially if your "story" is really a promotion for an event of product. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send product or event news, but just keep it in perspective.
- Never tell a lie, if the journalist finds out – which he/she inevitably will – your credibility will be marred forever.
- In the same vein, check your facts – don’t just guess at statistical evidence, check spellings, provide references so the journalist can verify your claims.
- Exclusive must mean exclusive. Never pitch your press release as an “exclusive" to more than one reporter – a certain way to make sure those journalists never return your calls in future.
- A variation of point 3, never promise an exclusive when you’ve already sent out the press release –
- Make sure your spokesperson is available – show you are a dependable source by making sure the
- Another faux pas is to pitch to a news editor on deadline time – but that can be very difficult to assess in these days of 24/7 news!
- Be prepared to answer follow up questions – the job doesn’t end when you send the press release, that’s just the beginning. If you’re release is any good the journalist will want to know more.
- If you don’t know the answer, say you’ll find out and get back to them – and do it! Make sure your client is prepared with all the facts, too, for any interviews that take place.
To find out more about the National Media Survey, contact the survey's author, Leila Henderson – [email protected]