The media didn’t use my media release!

A lament I often hear is “the media hates me, they don’t publish my press releases.” First don’t be silly. I doubt the media is paying enough attention to you to hate you. Unless you repeatedly fail to use simple techniques.

First you need to know what’s news. Just because you introduced an exciting (to you) product or a new service doesn’t make it newsworthy for the media. Watch your local stations, read your local papers and magazines. Understand what they view as news. Can’t figure it out from reading the paper or watching the news? Ask them. Call reporters that cover your industry, ask if you can have a few minutes of their time to figure out exactly what they are looking for.

Then listen to them. Reporters need help knowing what’s new and innovative. They are likely looking for something innovative that is filling a public void. Will this new service generate jobs? Will this new product solve a community problem? Will this service significantly help others in business? Determine why the media should be sharing what you have to offer whether it will benefit the community at large or generate a controversy or, you know, be newsworthy.

Understand timing and a hook. There are standing trends in industries: in retail swim suits come out in February, coats in the heat of summer. In wine, harvest time is the fall; releases have their own schedule. Know this about your industry and time when you send a release. A favorite example: a friend who worked for a parks department had sent a release to the media about free firewood from trees removed for disease. This was August. Not one taker. Then come October when the weather turned to record cold and the price of heating went to record highs, they sent a media release about a solution for heating–yep, that chopped firewood. Once printed that wood was gone in less than a week. Free wood wasn’t appealing in August; as a solution to a community heating cost problem it was brilliant. What is your firewood?

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