(These are meeting notes from a PR roundtable I was at some time ago, about how startups can spend more time in the press. The comments below come from a combination of reporters and execs across TV, radio & print)
Journalists are consumers of stories — get on their supplier list.
Mass market blasts of your press release sometimes work, but individual relationships with a few journalists, built over coffees, pays long-term dividends.
Dissect your competitor’s successful stories.
Provide the additional data they’ll need — graphs, videos, pictures, stats, testimonials.
You can reduce risk for the reporter by providing previous press coverage.
Offer both light (information) & heat (drama, emotion)
TV stories take anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks to happen.
News programs have certain airing times (BBC is at 1, 6 & 10). So 9 or 10am is the best time to get into the day’s news coverage.
A printed press release is all about one killer quote.
Lining up TV gigs is about teasing the channel, making them believe you’d be really interesting: “Malaria deaths are down by 50% — why do you think that is? Call me!”
TV is 80% how you hold, dress & present yourself — 20% content.
During a 4 minute TV interview, you can get across one thought.
On TV or radio, feel free to ignore the question (“that’s great, but”) and then say your big points anyway regardless of what they asked.
Connect press events to calendar events — it justifies the story, especially if it’s country/region specific (e.g. queen’s birthday)
After sending a press release, make sure you’re available to answer the phone, fill in gaps, and do interviews. Don’t send a release and then go AWOL.
Stories have to be new, unknown or desirable to get picked up by the press. “X does Y nice thing” isn’t a story. But it could be if it involved a new way, new place, how people?
Ask friendly journalists for help & advice.
Local news is the easiest & has value for certain businesses. Cut your teeth on local regardless to build the relationships & skills.
It’s hard to break in, but once you do, they’ll keep coming back to you for new stories.