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How to give reporters what they really want

By Lisa Goldsberry

492730747If you’re not getting the right kind of news coverage, PR can show you how to tweak your media efforts and get results

According to Business Wire’s new survey called 21st Century Journalism and Public Relations (the Evolution), reporters are increasingly turning to press releases from companies to find the information they need. This includes breaking news, unique story topics, quotable sources, trending topics and background for articles. Almost 90 percent of journalists reported using company press releases at least once during the week that the survey was conducted.

Consumers now get their news from a variety of sources, and journalists now face the challenge of filling these publications with value-added content. As a result, they need PR professionals and press releases now more than ever. This provides a unique opportunity for your company to help, but that assistance must come in the right form.

Myth: Reporters like to keep things simple, so stick to just sending press releases; don’t bombard them with any additional information.

Reality: The polled journalists stressed the importance of incorporating appropriate photos and graphics with press releases. Press releases without accompanying visuals are the least likely to get noticed or receive coverage. You can also include infographics or videos.


Myth: With the overwhelming majority of the population using social media, you should also use it to pitch to journalists.

Reality: While social media is becoming a useful tool for collecting information and disseminating news, it’s not the best way to reach out to reporters. Less than 20 percent of reporters prefer to be contacted through platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and only 25 percent dont mind being pitched through LinkedIn.


Myth: Web-based publications are not as popular or professional as traditional news sources, so don’t bother taking them seriously.

Reality: There are thousands of Internet media outlets – both traditional publications with electronic components and those that are exclusively on the Web. In fact, the Business Wire survey found that the number of journalists working for online publications now exceeds those writing for more standard outlets such as radio and television.

Online outlets’ achievements are often measured by how many comments, views and shares each article generates. This is called digital metrics. Although they dont like to be pitched through social media, it is increasingly critical for them.


Myth: As long as your press releases are effective, your website doesnt matter when it comes to media attention.

Reality: Many journalists look to your website first when seeking information about your company, so make sure your website is well organized and user-friendly.

Also, since the pace and deadlines of Web-based publications are faster than traditional outlets, your online newsroom should be especially up-to-date and complete. Reporters usually look for necessary information in a hurry and may not have time to chase down your spokesperson or play phone tag, so the more documents you can make easily accessible, the better your chances for receiving coverage.


Myth: It’s not necessary to fully understand a journalist’s job.

Reality: You must identify with the story development process and what it takes to contribute in a useful way. If you can help the reporter shine and do his job well, he’s more likely to return the favor with positive news coverage.

All this might put extra pressure on PR firms, but at Axia, we’re ready for the adventure. Let us help your company get the media exposure you deserve, which will increase your visibility and customer loyalty. Discover more by downloading our e-bookLearn Media Relations from the Media or give us a call today.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.

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Topics: public relations, media

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