How to use PR to increase media coverage - your questions answered
1. How can I increase the chance of a journalist using my press release?
Journalists receive hundreds of press releases, phone calls and emails every day. They don't have time to read every press release in detail and wonder if they could make it work. Try to put the most important details in the headline and first 1-2 paragraphs. Keep it short and simple, and offer to send background details on request.
2. How can I make my press release interesting and newsworthy?
Make sure you send the right type of press release to the right type of journalist. There is no point sending a technical story about a new printer to a business journalist, and there's no point sending a story of confined local interest to a national audience. You have to make the call on these details, but if you keep sending the wrong story to journalists, they may block your email address.
3. Can I send photographs and sound files with my press release?
It is recommended you do not send large media files to journalists without asking their permission. Simply add a note to your release - photographs available on request. NewsMaker allows you to upload media files, enabling journalists to retrieve them from the website. If you upload media files, it's a good idea to note this at the foot of your press release, eg, "A photograph of Jim Bloggs is available at www.newsmaker.com.au".
4. If I advertise in a publication, shouldn't they give me editorial space?
For most publications, the answer is generally "no". But many publications now run "special reports" and "features" which are all about attracting advertising around a specialist subject. When advertising in these sections you most certainly can enquire about editorial. However, you are likely to be told there are no guarantees your editorial will be published.
5. How can I find out about deadlines?
Each publication varies as to how long it takes from the final touches being put to pages and going to print. In a daily newspaper there can be several deadlines for different sections. Magazines have a lead time anywhere between 3 and 6 weeks or even three months. Radio and television news, being more immediate, have the shortest deadlines. Lifestyle shows such as Renovation Rescue and Getaway and documentaries featured on Australian Story and 60 Minutes have much longer deadlines. Programs may be scheduled months in advance. NewsMaker is working on a new service to provide deadlines and upcoming features for all major publications. This will assist you in planning your press release schedule.
7. What happens if an email address doesn't work because a journalist has moved on?
If your release bounces back we will call to confirm the address.
8. I've sent my press release. How do I find out what has happened to it?
We recommend that you select the most important publications for your announcement and follow them up by phone. However, don't call just to ask if it has been received. Journalists are irritated by timewasters. When you follow up, make sure you can clearly articulate both the story in your release and an additional point of interest (see next item).
9. Why should I follow up a release?
Journalists on major publications receive hundreds of emails a day - as well as spam emails. Many do not read any press release, whether faxed, mailed or emailed, unless it is followed up in person. Before you do this:
- Read the publication, listen to radio or view the TV show.
- Arm yourself with some additional information that might move the journalist to become more interested.
- Approach 1 journalist per publication - it's bad form to get a knock-back from 1 journalist and immediately call back his colleague at the next desk with the same pitch.
10. After an interview, when can I expect to see my story in print?
The blunt answer is 'possibly never'. However, even if it's not of immediate interest, your story will likely be filed for future use if an interview has taken place. Your press releases are also available online for search in NewsMaker to assist journalists' research.
Email us for more information.