The main reasons why editors will automatically bin your media relations could well be from the following no-no list:

1. Your press release isn’t actually relevant to the readership

2. You don’t have an interesting, unique or different story to tell

3. The press release is just a worded version of a sales pitch

4. You have missed the editorial deadline – or don’t even know when that is

5. You haven’t read the publication (online or offline) and have submitted a poor attempt at gaining column inches

6. You haven’t found out the name and email of the editor and have sent a generic, no-named email

7. You haven’t submitted accompanying images in high-quality, professional format with your press release

8. Your feature ideas are not backed up with case study examples

9. Your facts and statistics contained in the press release are not attributed

10. The press release is, basically, poorly-written and would take too much work to turn into a decent editorial piece

Any 1 or more of the above points combined will pretty-much guarantee you a strike-out. Guilty?!


At least, according to this solid piece.

Actually, in part I agree: many of the traditional publishers in the UK observed the coming of digital and internet-based publishing, blogs, twitter, and the numerous online innovations, instead remaining focused on the print options only.

The readerships, as consumers, have voted with their feet and mouse clicks, and more of them are migrating to free content online than ever before: the hundreds of redundant journalists across the UK lay testimony to this.

But still, in spite of overwhelming evidence indicating that newspaper management needed to engage the audience, the reader, the market, in the places they choose to get their news, what have many done? Continued observing, done nothing, introduced no innovations, given minor allowances to the digital age by copying content from print to the web…and wondering why readerships walk.

Let’s not forget one simple economic fact: when a product or service no longer serves the market, it becomes obsolete.

And so we see the current state of the British newspaper industry. They forgot to nurture the relationship with readers. And then bemoan the state of advertising and consumer interest when the paginations keep plummeting on a daily basis.

It’s all about listening to the market demands and repsonding accordingly. It looks like for some it’s too late. As we all know, when you lose their interest, readers rarely ever come back. This simple business rule applies to the publishers too.

So, imagine the scene…

You’ve sent your shiny, perfectly-formed, stunningly-interesting press release to all your target Press. Not a single irrelevant media contact has been emailed. You have absolute confidence in the power of the story contained within your PR correspondence.

And then?

Nothing, nadda, zilch. Three days pass and not a single, salutory email or phone call from any of the contacted editors.

What next?

Don’t fret, panic or take it personally.

I receive 250 emails per day from company prs, in-house marketers and PR Agencies dealing on behalf of clients across the UK. And roughly 10% of them are worth reading. As in, worth taking a closer look because they are actually, fundamentally newsworthy and may interest my readerships. No sales pitches, PR spin, irrelevant waffle, just good old-fashioned News.

So, are you being honest with yourself?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Is the press release just a poorly-worded sales effort?

2. Is it really relevant to the target readership?

3. Is it about current or upcoming News in the business, or a re-hashed story from 3 months ago?

4. Is the accompanying image of appropriate quality for the publication or online portal?

5. Is the editorial well-written, punchy and without waffle – does it succinctly tell the story?

6. Have I given the press release to a third party to check before emailing it to the Press?

If you can pass the above questions, and still no contact from the Press, be patient. Be persistent. Keep sending the right PR, in the right format, at the right time, and within our deadlines. We’ll get to it eventually.

Oh – and never, ever, ever ring us to see if we’ve recieved it. You’ll often find an expletive offends.

Here’s a starting point: if I had to define the Top 10 things to remember in delivering good PR to the media, they would be:

1. Remember it is the story that counts, not the ego

2. The editor is not your pal, he is a media professional looking for editorial of interest to a discerning and fussy readership

3. Your PR will be competing with many other stories and news items hourly

4. Make sure you have something different, interesting and unique to offer

5. Get to know your target publications and media thoroughly before you make any direct PR-based contact

6. If your PR gets knocked back the first time, deal with it. Be persistent and take a different angle next time

7. Make sure you supply outstanding images with all PR submitted

8. Remember that there are different rules of media engagement for online vs. offline media

9. PR yourself widely, across as many sources, publications, forums, blogs, tweets as possible

10. Get ready to deliver consistent, month-after-month PR. One-off hits usually under-deliver

Re-posting this one after a great enquiry…

Even with the depressed state of the Nation, editors still need, want and demand News. And we still need to be supplied with excellent content and images to feed our readerships. So how can you guarantee you’re hitting the headlines? Try these tips:

1. Get inside your business and uncover newsworthy stories. Don’t make stuff up, or create spin. Uncover the people news.

2. Make sure you get your content professionally written and supplied to us with professional images taken by a professional photographer – note the word ‘professional’ in there? That’s because you need to give a professional representation of your business to us: saving money and cutting corners sends out the wrong messages to us. Obvious, really.

3. Research your target newspapers, magazines and online sites throughly – you need to know who is writing what, where and when before you try to sell us your PR. Anything less is nothing short of media relations suicide.

4. Be persistent – you may well need to contact, re-contact and re-re-contact before you get the result you’re after.

5. Respect deadlines – always, always, always ask us if we’re on deadline BEFORE you launch into a pitch.

6. Give us what we want, and within the hour. Trust is rapidly built with us by you delivering the goods on deadline.

Even if you maintain the above Tips only, you’ll go a long way to building great media relationships. Try it!

…short and simple – check this for information. Superb.

Apparently not – according to this report.

Maybe the starting point of investment and re-training is not with the journalists, but with the senior managers who have failed to develop their ailing newspaper and magazines business models in the first place.

Anybody got a piece of rope to catch that long-bolted horse?

Free PR opportunities…

August 14, 2009

…right here – worth a look.

…and not necessarily the content…Whilst I have always believed that Content Is King, there are limits of course.

Hugely interesting article on this, which raises a number of questions. As well as providing comfort to newspaper managers.

Well, if this offering from the excellent Bristol-based contract publisher Specialist UK is anything to go by.

Three brand-spanking-new Editor slots from the company – ok, so the deadline on applications is now up, but to see a regional media firm recruiting on this level is encouraging, particularly in light of the number of editorial redundancies recently in the UK.

It got me thinking – the economic downturn hit us like a frieght-train rolling over a frightened bunny on the tracks – and maybe, just maybe, the recovery will be as rapid. Confidence commercially is so hard to predict, but the appointments push from Specialist is certainly an indicator that the upturn is a-coming. Bravo.