Good news: the media needs you.
Too many organisations, companies and peak bodies think that gaining media coverage is for someone else. It’s not. I guarantee that you are sitting on untapped media potential. What a waste.
The media really does need you.
Without organisations just like yours actively participating in the process of identifying story ideas, contributing talent and helping to facilitate the media’s own ideas, the media would collapse for lack of content. Grant yourself a licence to participate.
“But the media only wants bad news stories.”
No matter what some people will tell you; good news stories do get coverage, so too do bad news stories, sad news stories, complicated news ones. There is lots of space to fill with issues of every persuasion. Go get yours.
So what does media want?
NEWs: tell the media something it doesn’t know. At least a little new. New to them doesn’t mean it is new to you. It’s more likely to be re-packaged news. Spotted a trend? Unveiling a product? Launching an event? Excellent; that’s news.
EXPERTISE: Every journo has a black book. You must ensure that you feature in these lists of expert spokespeople and contacts. It’s not easy to dislodge an existing go-to contact. Generally speaking, a journo will keep going to the one contact until that contact moves on, gets boring or, heaven forbid, says “No”. Be ready to interpret and comment on data, reports and breaking news AS IT HAPPENS. That’s what experts do.
VISUAL: weak stories (and downright non-stories) can be run simply due to strong visuals. Go to great lengths to create compelling visuals. You have yourself a story as .
DATA: whether it be a small survey or a national longitudinal study, media loves something that crystallises an issue. You are sitting on data – the sort of thing that you send to members, investors, funders. Or grab a clipboard and ask 100 people three questions. It can be that easy.
SENSATION / CONTROVERSY: You don’t have to slander and lie but bold statements, strong opinions and contrary views make more impact and engage media.
IMMEDIACY: media wants everything ASAP. First in is best dressed; even if not necessarily best informed.
PRE-PACKAGED & SELF-SAUCING STORIES: Journalists are busy people working under a lot of pressure in a harsh working culture. Also; they are as lazy as the rest of us. Thus a fully rounded story suggestion – one with expert, data, case study, visual angle and even a media-friendly opposition spokesperson is much appreciated. Do the work for them.
ACCESS: to case studies and real life examples via you. This is vital. They also love access to visiting overseas experts. You are the insider, help them in. Let them tour your facility, meet your client, review your data.
PREDICTABILITY: journalists rarely make calls to find out what an organisation thinks about an issue. Media wants to know what you think about issues before they arise. Do you have your opinions / demands / plans listed on your website?
CONTEXT / TOPICALITY: media wants stories that tie-in with bigger issues or happenings; positive or negative. That youth crime wave terrorising the city is an opportunity to talk about: sentencing, parenting, home security, funding for youth sports, policing and more. Get on board.
RESONANCE: media wants appropriate stories that resonate with their audience. Try to make your story relevant – perhaps to parents, new parents, fathers, first home buyers, a geography, a profession. Do your potential stories relate to a niche audience? Good – now approach media that targets that audience.
SPECIFIC SOLUTIONS: propose a specific answer or solution. Don’t just commentate or whinge. Media wants your proposals so that it can hold decision-makers accountable to it.
TIMING: You will always do better if you pick a slow news day – weekends, public holidays, post-football, Summer. Choose to unveil your survey / poll / report / study at a time that makes it more topical to maximise the appeal.
FINALLY: Don’t think that your story isn’t newsworthy. Look at the bollocks they will print! A LOCAL ANGLE works a treat.