7 ways to sell news to the media

It used to be simple. When you had a story to tell, you sent journalists a press release and, if you had one, a photograph.

The press release is still a key tool for any media relations campaign but it is no longer enough to do the job effectively.

In today’s content thirsty, multi-media world journalists and bloggers are looking to tell stories in ways that will really engage their audiences. As well as traditional print formats many titles look to tell the story online in more depth or in a way that works for online audiences.

So if you want to maximise your coverage you need to provide a complete package of media engagement tools that tell your story in many different and engaging ways. Here’s Pelican Communications list of the seven resources you need to effectively sell news to the media.

1. Press release

Some communications people will tell you that the press release is dead, but that’s not the case. A good press release should be the foundation of your media relations campaign. The task of writing a release will clarify the story you’re telling and underpin the rest of the resources you are producing. What’s more it is still the accepted currency used by journalists and PR people. Make sure the release is short, simple and to the point. More advice on press release writing can be found here.

2. Photography

A picture tells a thousand words. Invest in good quality professional photography that helps tell the story. Make sure you have a selection of pictures as different media will want different shots. Don’t just send one picture send a selection or even better make your pictures available on-line so journalists can select whichever shots they want.

3. Infographics

If you have lots of facts and figures produce an infographic to help tell your story. Supply it with the release. There are lots of free online tools that let you create infographics. They create added interest to the story and whilst they may not be used on traditional printed editorial pages they are popular online. What’s more they can be branded with your logo and website address.

4. Tables, charts and maps

Design some tables or charts to highlight key facts and figures in your release. Creating charts in excel is easy and they can be saved as jpegs for use by journalists. If your story contains regional information consider producing a map which helps illustrate the key messages. Like infographics they too can be branded.

5. Video

Video can really bring a story to life and generate online coverage. Many online titles are keen to feature video so you’re often pushing at an open door. However, it’s no good sending a promotional video as it will just be ignored. Instead work with a broadcast journalist to create a ‘news package’ that tells your story in an engaging and interesting way. Your video can be subtly branded and can include links back to your website.

Video is great for a range of stories such as product launches, CEO interviews, the opening of new facilities or as a way of telling a complicated story in a more simple way.

6. Audio

Audio can also be effective. Obviously if you’re targeting radio stations it’s essential. However, providing an extended interview with a CEO, opinion former or market expert is another way of cost effectively producing content which readers can stream from the website they’re viewing.

7. Self-publish

Don’t just rely on journalists to tell your story. Upload your release and resources to your own website then let your stakeholders know using Twitter or other digital platforms such as Facebook. You can also use Instagram or Flickr to share the pictures from your media pack and your video and audio can be uploaded to your YouTube channel to spread the message further.

As news appears in the media make sure that you highlight this across your social media platforms. By doing this you are creating more mentions and distributing your news as widely as possible.

Pelican Communications are specialists in the environmentfood and drinkoutdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people developmentContact us for marketing and communications expertise.