My first post on this issue received fervent Amens from my colleagues, so here are a few more.
1. DON’T DON’T DON’T try to use our Marketing Departments to put pressure on Editorial to carry your stories. Does it work? I guess it must, in some cases, if so many people do it. But editors will resent the hell out of you, whether the story gets carried or not, and will probably make a point of dumping your future releases in the bin as soon as they come in. This is not the way to build useful professional relationships.
2. If you want to have a press conference, please, have a press conference. Don’t have a breakfast or lunch. They take way too much time, say four hours compared to a press conference which could take about one and a half to two hours. If your story is important, it’s getting covered, food or no food. Okay, I realize that unfortunately, there are probably still some reporters who follow their bellies, but really, if your issue sucks, food won’t make any decent reporter or editor like it any better. Save yourself some money and save us the time. Juice, tea and coffee are generally fine for a two-hour event. We’re not hiking through the Blue Mountains here. Sandwiches and fruit on a side table if you really want to be hospitable. That way, those of us who want to rush off can do so, having already got the information/interviews we need.
3. Stop inviting us to cover foolishness. Newsrooms have been cutting staff, and on any given day, there’s much more going on than we’ll ever be able to cover. In addition, there’s work being done on original stories and features. Many of the events we are invited to cover are just not newsworthy, although the discussion of what is newsworthy has been evolving as I said in my post on the Yendi story and my post on newsworthiness and social media. If your clients insist on media coverage for the launch of Pretty Calendars Week, tell them the truth – reporters are unlikely to come. Take a photo, write a release, send it in and hope for the best. And since we’re on the subject of releases…..
4. Learn how to write one! Teach yourself how to write, brush up on your grammar and have someone proofread what you are sending out. Do I really have to say that badly-written releases are a big turn-off and instantly tell us you are not professional? And just as importantly, learn how to write for news. Again, do you really want to hope that an editor will have the patience (a quality in short supply) to comb through paragraphs and paragraphs of dense text to try to figure out if there is a nugget of news in there somewhere?
5. Don’t call to complain about the angle a reporter took in covering your press conference or event. Well, you can call, but first understand that if you want to control the message, you shouldn’t have a press conference. Send a release and hope for the best.
What do you think of these points and is there anything you’d add?
- News and Newsworthiness in the Age of Social Media (newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com)
- Is the Yendi Story “News?” (newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com)
- Five Tips From the Newsroom (newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com)