One of the toughest challenges that media managers face is getting their articles published by journalists. A major concern of every serious-minded media officer is if journalists will pick their story. That is a valid concern and this concern is dominant in the minds of all those who use SquirrelPR for press distribution.
We do get the question from almost all our users asking if a good number of the over, 500 journalists on the SquirrelPR platform will pick their story. We usually answer that it depends on the strength of their story and then go-ahead to share some tips with them.
Some have taken that feedback to pay extra attention to the stories they write and distribute via the platform and have seen a significant uptick in the number of journalist picking their stories.
In this post, we identify three of those tips that have worked for most of our users so that you too can apply them while writing your press releases in order to get more free publications when you distribute your press material through SquirrelPR.
1. Write Relevant Content
When writing your press release, there is always the temptation to focus on your brand, product or service or your organisation and use all the qualifiers you can remember that best describe the solution or brand. This becomes harder to distinguish from a mere sales pitch and journalists will not publish these unless you are paying for them. If you ever engage them on why they did not pick your story, you would have heard them complain that your material is too “PRish”.
The solution is to seek to make your content relevant.
What is Relevant Content?
Relevant content for a busy reporter is one that makes his job easier. You can make a reporter’s job easier by adding value to an existing story by offering a fresh perspective. It could also be that your content deepens a conversation on any topical issue.
Let us say your company has introduced a new product or service, you may want to just state in the press release that your company has introduced a new product or service and write about its features in glowing terms.
That is expected, but you need to look at the big picture and figure out the problems the solution seeks to solve in the marketplace. By doing that, you are able to place the new product or service perfectly where it belongs in the marketplace. You need to state for instance, how big that problem is – some numbers always help – and let your readers know how your new solution will solve this problem.
The reason you want to apply this strategy in your writing is that the reporter you are targeting is more interested in a solution to a problem than just writing about your brand. He is a journalist, not a copywriter. He also has an editor who has to decide if his story is worth publishing or not. Besides, he receives more than ten press releases a day from other media officers such as yourself. Why should he give your story priority attention? We always recommend that media officers think like a reporter in the newsroom while creating content and write how you would if you really want your editor to consider your story.
2. Build Good Relationships With The Media
In media relations, relationship with the media is everything. If you are a Public Relations Executive, yours is a relationship business. Therefore, it is imperative that you cultivate good relationships with the media if you really want to have more of them picking your press release.
Journalists should not be some far off people in a newsroom somewhere that are only important only when you have a press release to distribute. They are real human beings and if you make friends with them, they will make you succeed in your role as a media officer.
Granted, you will not always ace your content. Some, you will really struggle because you may not be in the right frame of mind but the material must go out. However, if you have cultivated good relationships with the media, they can call your attention to such badly written press releases and suggest better perspectives that can help your story to get a free pass.
Having good relationships also helps to save costs. No matter how rich your organisation is, the management will not be comfortable allocating a budget for every press release. Therefore, you need these relationships to come through for you on those occasions when there is no budget and all you have is goodwill.
This is why SquirrelPR is more effective than other PR tools. SquirrelPR enables you to discover journalists relevant to you so that you can cultivate relationships with them. For instance, SquirrelPR allows you to send regular and personalized bulk messages to journalists. This means you can maintain regular communication with them by sending them goodwill messages on their birthdays, wedding anniversaries, as well as special holidays such as Christmas and Eid. You never can tell how far that encouraging “Happy New Month” message to a journalist will go in strengthening the relationship you have.
There is no denying the fact that the healthier your relationship with the journalists is, the less your press releases and other press contents are subjected to editorial scrutiny before publication. It is one of the best ways to ramp up your earned media.
3. Join Conversations on Topical Issues
To have your articles published more frequently, you must also think like a content marketer. Content marketers rely a lot on trends to create relevant content. You should do the same. It is easier to get people to talk about a topic if they are already talking about something related.
How does your solution, brand or new product align with a trending topic? You have google and Twitter trends for a guide. All the blogs and news platforms you are targeting are doing the same thing; they are writing to become part of an existing conversation. You should do their job for them and they will never take your content lightly.
For example, your organisation manufactures a waterproofing material used in constructing houses, especially in flood-prone areas. As the rainy season approaches, the city council issues a flood alert. Would it not make sense to speak to your Manager and come up with tips on how people can protect their houses from the flood by leveraging your product? In this instance, the problem is the flood, and the solution is your waterproofing solution. Meanwhile, you must try to be as objective in your writing as possible.
Therefore, while the intention of this press release may be to sell your product, the focus of the press release should really be on the severity of the flood problem and objectively state – in passing - how much your solution could prevent the losses that could accrue from the flooding.
You could apply this strategy to virtually any brand. The reason most brands exist is to solve problems. It is good to talk about the solution to the problem you are solving, but reminding people that the problem still exists and objectively mentioning how your solutions meet the needs works best in attracting attention and never gets out of fashion.
To be continued…
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