Understanding what journalists want – It is easy to get caught up in what the business is focused on and believe that a journalist will be interested too. A new product, service or website may be of value to the company and customers but journalists may not, necessarily, be bashing down your door to get an interview. Human interest is key – journalists want the people angle – the personal story, the impact the news has on people. There are many other ingredients but this is key. If your widget is ten times faster than the last one then specialist journalists may well be interested but what will really get attention is the impact it will have on people – will it make the queues at airline security move ten times faster, will it save money, make people safer?
Know the audience – Journalists are only interested in stories that are relevant to their audience. There must also be a ‘peg’ for the story – a reason for the story. Usually, it concerns something that has just happened. You can also ‘create’ a ‘peg’ for your story by linking it to, for example, anniversaries or forthcoming events. It is worth researching your target press to get a feel for the types of stories that will be of interest, as well as the profile of the readership – age, demographics etc.
Building your press list – You’ll probably be familiar with many of the publications relevant to your PR. There are also a number of sources to help you add to your listing. The Guardian Media Directory is a useful reference guide – it lists the contact details for 10,000 individuals and companies in the UK press and media – including digital television, magazines and regional newspapers. There are also many online listings. As part of your list building you should check out the most relevant person to contact/send information to at your target media, as well as their deadlines.
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