In an effort to help those who don’t send out a lot of news releases or invitations to events, but have something worthy of some level of media attention, let’s look at what can be done.
Last time we looked at the possible reasons a news release could bomb. They were:
- Another huge community event going on at the same time.
- Media gets diverted with spot (unplanned) news (you can’t control this)
- You don’t have a (good) relationship with the media.
- Your event is not compelling enough to induce coverage.
This is not an exhaustive list, but they are some very real reasons why media response may be less than you’re hoping to get.
So what can you do to dial up your chances for coverage? While I’ve sent out new releases myself that ended up bringing back crickets, there are some ways to increase your chances for consideration.
“When you are responsive to members of the media for good stories and bad ones…there’s a sense of transparency and consideration that they likely will return.”
- Check your community calendar. Be aware of big community events that could suck the life out of your media possibilities. Look for alternative dates. But if that’s not possible, look for ways to connect it with the big event somehow.
- Give plenty of notice about your event. For a single day event, I would give at least a week notice with a news release and then a day-before jingle to remind them of their invitation. If it’s bigger than that, pushing out information periodically weeks ahead of time, can be effective if explained well.
- Work on your media relationships: The biggest reason is consideration. The “consideration roadway” is a two-way street. When you are responsive to members of the media for good stories and bad ones…there’s a sense of transparency and consideration that they likely will return.
- Make your news release relevant and visual: This comes back to making your event compelling. If your news release does not sell its relevancy, then all bets are off. News that impacts a large number of people or has a “hook,” meaning its relevancy has a connection to something currently trending, represents some of the low hanging fruit for media. But almost as important is depicting the visual nature of your event. This is particularly important in television. There’s nothing more difficult for a TV reporter to do than to turn what is essentially a newspaper story (nonvisual) into something visually appealing.
Steve Linscomb worked in the news media for 28 years. Since 2012, he has served as an official spokesperson for a public school district in the San Antonio metro area and is a freelance writer.