I hate to turn down business, I really do. But when a potential client comes to me with his “great story idea that will revolutionize his industry” and wants me to help him get media attention, I listen… and I listen… and I listen some more. And after about five minutes of “listening”, (of him trying to convince himself of the story potential, rather than me), it is clear to me there is no story, no angle, and sadly, no business!
Instead of turning him away gracefully, I offered him some frank and practical guidance before sending him back to the drawing board – which I will now share with all of you…News releases are not, I repeat, NOT blatant sales pitches. Media relations is a two way street. In order to convey a message that you want your target audience to hear and remember, you have to give journalists the story angles that they need and that would be of interest to their readers, viewers, and listeners. Although most journalists will certainly connect the dots on their own, it’s best to cut to the chase and do it for them.
A release with content that is newsworthy in style is more likely to get media attention rather than simply a promotion of your product of service. (Reporters and editors receive these kinds of pitches every day by the hundreds – please don’t add to the pile). If all you send out is an advertisement in the format of a press release, you will more likely get a call from the sales department asking if you would like to take out an ad rather than a reporter looking to cover your story. Remember, building credibility with the media is as important as creating it for your company, and when it comes to media relations – one rarely exists without the other.