When you have a good story there are lots of options available for getting the word out. Traditionally the most common way is a press release. This can lead to coverage in papers, magazines and websites, and appearances on television and the radio.
At an extremely interesting event organised by stempra, the science, technology, engineering and medicine PR association, I got the chance to discuss with journalists how they wanted to receive news, and what news they wanted to hear.
They explained why some press releases don’t get covered (to put this in context, they may get hundreds of releases each day and many of the emails won’t even be opened).
Sometimes the timing isn’t right. Either it’s not relevant at the moment, or there is no embargo. If the story is for immediate release then national papers may not cover it because they know blogs and online media will beat them to it. This is particularly true for the television crews who need time to shoot and edit their film.
For press releases to be picked up by the media they have to reach the right people. If your press release only goes up on your website it will reach visitors but not journalists. But the journalists were keen to stress the importance of only sending to relevant places, which is why our press releases only go out to a chosen group of publications.
One reason for lack of coverage is that the subject simply isn’t interesting enough. We were warned that anyone who sends out irrelevant news will soon get recognised and the delete button will be immediately hit for everything they send.
These are times when it’s better not to get journalists involved. It may still be a story worth telling, but maybe it’s only of interest to a select group of people. Or it may be your thoughts on a new development or new piece of legislation, for example, so still interesting but not suitable for the media. Alternatives are now easy to come by. There are blogs, online forums and social media or, for the more adventurous, podcasts and YouTube videos.
Where have you had success?