Media relations

Editors confirm the essentials of a good media pitch

15 Nov, 2019 Media relations

As communicators, we focus on convincing reporters of the merits of the news angle we are pitching in our press release. But we lose sight of the fact that those reporters then need to sell the story to their own editors and chiefs of staff, who in turn have to get support for our story at their regular editorial meetings of senior staff. Therefore, our media pitch has to be supported 3 times by ...

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Journalists need to better understand PR’s wide scope

15 Nov, 2019 Media relations

Every time new job growth trends are published by the US Census Bureau, a news outlet somewhere will lament in a “fresh” story angle that PR is killing journalism. I was about to write detailed comments about PR employment growing while journalism numbers are dying, when I noticed Lou Hoffman also commented in a post on 1 May, so I will keep my comments fairly brief. Bloomberg, a respected business publication, headlined this misleading ...

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Don’t use the same headline in online as well as offline content

15 Nov, 2019 Media relations, Messaging

Headlines are the most important part of any written content. Advertising legend David Ogilvy pointed this out decades ago, and his words are still quoted. Ogilvy said in his classic book Confessions of an Advertising Man in 1963: "On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” But Ogilvy’s often-quoted comment related only to advertising – and he died in 1999, before the internet really got going. ...

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How to make your spokespersons’ quotes sound more authentic

15 Nov, 2019 Media relations

Television interview of Kim Harrison in 2016, when he was CEO of Crime Stoppers Western Australia, about the seizure of weapons in a drug campaign. A media release quoting him as spokesperson was included with the interview. Recently I wrote an article on using alternative words to “excited” to express happiness in press releases: “Time to get excited about using better words than “excited” in your writing.” Christopher Penn obviously feels the same, as ...

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Stakeholders key to resisting the onslaught of fake news and false ‘facts’

01 Mar, 2017 Media relations, Reputation, trust, stakeholder relations

The US election result in 2016 suddenly focused us on the major problems caused by the spread of false information, but the problem of fake news, misinformation, false rumors, and propaganda has been around in various forms for thousands of years. The main difference now is most likely the use of the internet. Not only is biased news and commentary available in traditional media but even more is all around us on the internet. ...

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Have we reached celebrity saturation?

01 Mar, 2017 Media relations

The mass media are awash with celebrities and celebrity events. Celebrities seem to be everywhere. Reality TV has created fame for many non-entities. Reality shows in most Western countries have thrust all kinds of people from obscurity to their fleeting moment of fame. And various celebrity magazines dominate the newsstands. The famous words of Andy Warhol (a celebrity in his own right) in 1968 were prophetic: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for ...

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Deal with news media on your own terms

17 Mar, 2015 Media relations

Selective engagement Selective engagement is a communication strategy that basically involves engaging on your own terms – you choose when and with whom you communicate. It applies mostly to media, either directly or indirectly, and particularly in crises. Selective engagement as advocated by US consultant Jim Lukaszewski means you don’t necessarily respond every time your organization’s name is raised in the media or in other forums or when a journalist contacts you. Many media ...

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You need to fact-check your PR material more carefully now

01 Mar, 2015 Media relations

Fewer journalists have to do more work in today’s newsrooms. News outlets are cutting the number of journalists they employ, and those remaining are obliged to write more quickly and more often. Frequently they have minimum time to fact-check their stories. Therefore more media releases are being used directly as supplied. Thus the onus is more on communication pros to check facts before sending material to the media. This applies especially to material that ...

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Email is the key for pitching to media

01 Mar, 2015 Media relations

Despite all the chatter about the importance of social media, traditional news media still command the largest audiences. And the most effective way to provide story ideas to journalists is through email pitches. Email pitches favored by reporters Recent media surveys provide some valuable highlights for communicators. The Muck Rack State of Journalism Survey 2019 found targeted ("1:1") email by far the preferred channel to receive pitches (93%). Every other channel was disliked, as ...

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Simple techniques for writing strong headlines

28 Feb, 2015 Marketing communication, Media relations, Writing and layout

These days, isn’t the need for journalistic skills fading fast? Don’t the web and social media mean news writing skills are going the way of traditional news media – dying out in front of our eyes? Actually, it's quite the opposite! Strong headlines and intros/leads (first paragraphs) are even more crucial to good writing on websites, in social media and in mobile technology. Research shows that readers these days scan text most of the ...

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