Working with the media – work it like a pro

Learn how to write online content that rocks and gets results, EC Writing Services, Elizabeth Campbell

Working with the media can sometimes be intimidating, well journos can be, until you get to know us. Gosh, even I get scared of them sometimes.

I’ve worked as a journalist and editor for my entire career – over 15 years – even now that I own and run a business, I’m still writing for magazines and online platforms and editing a magazine.

But I’ve also worked in public relations on the other side of the media, so I get it. It can be scary and sometimes journos are short and gruff. I’ll make no excuses but I do know the media as we know is a shrinking space and journos are being inundated with more work, more platforms to be all over and the same number of hours in the day.

Aside from that, I work with clients and speak on the subject of working with the media and how to work it so it doesn’t work you.

There’s a secret to working the media and that is simply to build a relationship with the journalists you want to target. Go find them, email them and start sending them awesome story pitches – ones you haven’t sent to other journalists. Give them exactly what they need to publish your story – and they most likely will.

Here are a few notes from a speaking gig I did recently for the Publicity Genie, Annette Densham. If you’re looking to do your own PR, this chick is all over it. She’s an ex-News Ltd and Fairfax journo with a wealth of experience in PR and the working with the media.

What makes a good story?

  • Human interest – informative/educational/entertaining
  • Timing – is it urgent? Does it coincide with the time of year or a special event?
  • Is it an Australian first?
  • Does it have shock factor?
  • Statistics/research you’ve completed – what are the results and how are they relevant?
  • Famous people/high profile people – are you working with someone special the media will want to know about?
  • Trends – what’s happening in your industry?

Mistakes people make when sending their story in?

  • Making it way too commercial – you have to think like a reader.
  • Either not giving enough info or giving too much info.
  • Content is too technical or has too much industry jargon threaded throughout it. Keep it simple.
  • No pitch and no angle. Make it relevant to the publication.
  • No image attached – give us everything we need to be able to run it. Then we can call you if we need anything further.
  • Remember you are dealing with the journos – don’t say anything you don’t want printed!
  • Asking to see the story before it’s published
  • Missing deadlines

How to become a valuable media source

  • Make it really easy for the journo to say yes to you.
  • Give them great pitches, press releases, high res images, stay in touch with story ideas that they will find relevant for their readers.
  • Send them products if you can.
  • Don’t annoy them…the media landscape has changed and these poor buggers are under the pump – overworked and stressed.

If writing is your thing, be sure to bag yourself a copy of my book. Grab a hard copy here or the eBook on Amazon.

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