Understand The Rules of the Newsroom

Journalist love businesses who do their own PR. Media coverage really isn’t that hard if you understand the rules of the newsroom.

Why?  Cheryl Connor of Forbes says ‘An entrepreneur is someone entirely comfortable pitching and selling their wares every day. They have learned to hone their messages. They’ve learned to study their audience and tune their “ask” to align with the listener’s needs (in this case, the reporter with ways to add meaningful value to the readers they serve). Where do the synergies lie? And how can they help? So in the hands of an entrepreneur, the fear of sending hundreds of messages and receiving just 2-4 responses—or no responses—goes away.’

The #1 rule: Help a journalist do their job by providing a great story, case studies to support your topic, sound bites and quotes …  that the media love!

Passion is not news…

Don’t just expect the media to write about you because you are passionate about your business and doing your own PR. That’s a great start, but passion is not a news story.

Types of Stories:

  1. Shaking up an established sector or industry by doing something differently
  2. Broader business trends, and case studies to show those trends
  3. Trending news that you can give an opinion on or you have a different take on it.
  4. You’ve got really great insight into your sector that no one has talked about before.
  5. You have a new angle, new perspective or new research on a previous written story. 
  6. If you attend an industry event, feel free to send your take on the event, the speakers, something unique or trend setting that was talked about. Journalist/reporters cannot attend all events and if it interest them, they will call you.
  7. If you pitch a story that doesn’t get picked up, but it becomes relevant in the news a few weeks or months later, pitch it again.

When Sending a Pitch via Email:

  1. Make sure you have researched the right journalist/reporter and the subject matter they cover.
  2. Subject line is the most important initially.
  3. State your hook quickly.
  4. Add your press release to the body of the email so the reader doesn’t have to click again.
  5. Present the topic it in a really clear way that within the first five to 10 seconds of opening the email, the journalist immediately has a sense for why you’ve contacted me.
  6. Why should we be talking about this now and and how can they get in touch with you.
  7. If it’s time sensitive, how can they get in touch with you very easily. 
  8. If you are going to chase a journalist because material or an event is time sensitive, start 3 weeks before and send an email each week .. not 3 times in one week.

How Journalists Choose Trending Stories and Content to Write About:

  • They are often looking for case studies on places like Twitter.  There are hashtags that are used called #JOURNALREQUEST and PR agencies use #PRREQUEST.  Also check out HARO – Help A Reporter Out. Signing up for requests for content contribution in your field is always a great idea.  And don’t forget to ask your local reporters as well, how they choose stories within what they write about.
  •  Use Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or another platform to set up a column to follow specific hashtags so that you can see what journalist are requesting. 

What Makes Journalist Hit Delete? 

  • Writing to recreate the same story with a “who does it better” or “knows more” angle. Thats not going to happen. The story is published. Instead, offer a different take on it.
  • Do not send email introductions. You are wasting a journalists time. It’s ok for twitter or at an event, but not just to introduce yourself in the case you need an expert.

Create An Excellent Brand

  • Creating your own content will get you noticed by the media. Make sure blogs, graphics and videos are great and often.
  • There is so much noise online that it’s almost more important to get mainstream media coverage. It puts you above the crowd. 

Best Advice

There really are no shortcuts to a great reputation. We are all after great media coverage because it enhances that reputation. Shape your reputation by being a brilliant business. 


Remember you can always grab a DIY PR KIT for $99 and get LOADS of knowledge and step by step instructions on doing your own public relations.

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