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Why journalists don’t like you – or what you have to say

PR and getting media coverage is a tough game. It is not rocket science but it can be tricky. The essence of public relations is sending stories to people who might (and only ‘might’) be interested in them, with the hope that they will find them interesting and write about it. There is no money exchanging, no ‘controlling your message’ and, above all, no guarantees.

But there is a simple and golden rule: the journalist is always right. Like a car in a roundabout, the journalist takes priority.

Public Relations is about having a good relationship with journalists/bloggers, offering them material they might find useful and helping them get their work done. It is not about your brand, your business or your message. It is about them. Your aim is to give them something they will like and they will be able to use. If your product or story gets mentioned, that is super news.

This means many company directors, marketeers and business owners looking for column inches get a bit frustrated when they don’t get it their way. Chances are: it is your fault.

Journalists are doing their jobs, if you want to get media coverage for your story you will need to adapt to what they need and when they need it. They will not engage with you, like you or use your material if:

-You are not sending them decent material

-Yes, this includes good photographs

-You are demanding

-You are rude

-You are late sending them material you have promised

-Your releases are full of jargon

-You keep changing dates for an interview or are being difficult to arrange a chat (remember, they don’t need you, you are the one who needs them)

-You are asking them to see the piece before they publish it (remember, this is not an ad)

-You complain if you don’t like what they have written

Of course, there is also a chance that journalists are simply not that interested in your story, which means they are either busy with more important things or they don’t think your material is that relevant to them. Accept a ‘No’ and move on to your next story… the more stories you send out to the media, the higher your chances of hitting the right note and getting journalists to cover it.

A quick checklist – Remember, journalists like:

-Interesting genuine stories

-Quality pictures

-A swift response, don’t sit on things, they are working with a deadline

-Lingo-free releases

-Availability/flexibility to take calls or do an interview.

Understand the journalist doesn’t have any responsibility to run your material – they don’t have to use it. And you don’t have control over what will be written about your business. If you are precious about your ‘message’, PR is not for you, get on the phone to the Advertising department!

The Practice PR Team