While you may be fatigued by the never-ending coronavirus news coverage, the media must continue to report the news. Understandably, some industries and activities have slowed down during the crisis. An interesting and contrasting discovery is that media distribution and consumption have ramped up, according to a recent special report from our partner, Agility.
After analyzing clients’ use of media outreach and news release distribution (January-April, 2020), below is some of what was learned.
New Release Trends
- News release distribution through direct targeting emails and newswires increased by more than 30 percent.
- The amount of outreach targeted to journalists per working day has increased by more than 60 percent since January.
- Unsurprisingly, directly targeted email releases related to COVID-19 went from 1 percent to 51 percent between February and April, while COVID-related newswire releases jumped from 1 percent to 70 percent between the same time period.
News Release Best Practices: Questions and Answers
Most PR professionals learned “press releases 101” in college or on the job so we won’t go into the step-by-step basics here; however, there are a couple of considerations to weigh before writing a release.
- Is it really news? Be honest with yourself here and spare the journalists wading through hundreds of releases in their inboxes—be sure it is actually news.
- Is a press release truly the best method for the message? Honestly think about this and consider you have multiple channels available–your company blog, live streaming video, podcast or audio announcement, various social media platforms.
- Ask yourself WHY. Why would this journalist be interested in your information, and perhaps more importantly, why would their audience care? This is the true test.
- If you came to a crystal-clear answer, then you have your story angle and should proceed.
- If you have trouble answering this or are wavering on the reason why—stop, don’t waste your and the journalist’s time.
Answering these questions is an essential part of the process. It will help you with the headline, the lede (hook), position the messaging (story angle). And, most importantly, increase your chance of getting pickup from the media.
Finally, as you begin to pitch the story, never forget there is a living breathing human on the other end of your pitch–another person trying to do their job, just as you are.
Although we are in a time of global crisis, it’s not all gloom and doom. We’ve been seeing journalists’ pleas for ‘warm and fuzzy’ stories. Stories about acts of kindness—going on all around us—often get overlooked in the sea of negative news. Share good news from employees and customers. We all need a little good news about now.
What tips would you add? Do you have a feel-good story to share? We want to hear from you! Feel free to share your experiences or thoughts with us in the comments section or on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn—whatever works for you.
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