How to get your news in the media

news media how-to

Media coverage can make wonders for your business. So solid news media strategies should be part of well-rounded publicity campaigns. As opposed to advertising, articles have high credibility, are read and for free – if you manage to get the editors’ interest.

So how do you get journalists to publish your news? What can you do to improve your chances of getting published in newspaper, radio, television or online?

Develop contacts in the media

Learn how journalists and editors work and decide what to publish. It’s easier than you believe. Media is constantly looking for news and are happy to write about companies and business people, provided they consider the story to be of interest to their readers. Do you have a story to tell, positive news or wish to comment on something in the news related to your business? Pick up the phone and call the journalist. This can be particularly fruitful if your organization has an ongoing need to be in the newspaper or on TV.

Create news

Editorializing your news is crucial. What subjects are media interested in and why? What would make them interested in what you have to tell? Read, watch and study as many news outlets as possible and try to understand what makes news. Then present it in ways that make the journalist feel it is newsworthy.

Get to the point and keep it short

When sending press releases to media covering your field keep it short to the point. If it’s long and complicated the editor may not even read it. Don’t make it appear like advertising, boast or complicate it because that can work against you. Focus on what’s new, trendy, unusual, interesting, and of significance to the broadest numbers of readers. News organizations also love stories that arouse deep emotions – love, sympathy, hate, fear, anger – feelings that people can identify with.

Call the media swiftly

Journalists are flooded by emails so the best way of succeeding is to call him/her. Once you have got them interested in your story you can proceed with sending an email with information. And be swift. Nobody is interested in yesterday’s news. If you spend too much time contemplating how to best get results you will miss the boat. Arrange a news conference if you believe, or know, you news will generate significant media attention.

Need help?

If necessary use a PR & Communications consultant. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but is well worth it. Media coverage can be make or break for your business so until you master the art of handling the press it is money well spent.

Don’t hesitate to be interviewed and profiled in the media because it increases your chances of getting your news published. Look at Richard Branson. He masters the art of using himself as a living “advertisement” for Virgin Group. And I don’t need to tell you how successful he is. Where would Virgin be today if Richard hadn’t manged to get an abundance of media coverage? Don’t be afraid to ask for coverage and propose specific ideas. Your story could become the centerpiece on the front page. Don’t be discouraged or argumentative if your idea falls on deaf ears. You will learn from the experience. And don’ forget that the editor may turn you down today simply because the staff ’s time is taken up by other assignments. Be persistent. Be positive. Develop more and better ways to pitch your organisation into the news media. And whatever you do, don’t forget that if they don’t like you they will not publish your news. So make sure you come across in ways that make both you and the company look good.

Picture:  Gautier Delecroix 

83 thoughts on “How to get your news in the media

  1. Great article. Now more so than ever it's important to get into traditional media sources if you want business to thrive. There is so much competition and distinguishing yourself from everyone else can mean the difference between success and obscurity.

  2. I agree that you need to be current and relevant for a journalist to take an interest in your work. News is constantly moving and there is a need to keep up in order to be one step ahead. My friend is a blogger and gives regular updates on popular news. Her page updates almost immediately after fresh news is released.

  3. Great points Catarina. With all the info available on social media, I find it helpful to learn more about the editors and journalists to see what their interests are, what type of articles they publish etc. Think this makes it easier to start and then grow a relationship.

  4. I hadn't at all though about media coverage at this point, but it does seem like a good idea. I know many entrepreneurs who've appeared in segments on the local news. I haven't ever tried to go that route because I live in Los Angeles where they often get celebrities to appear on the local news stories. But media is something worth investigating in the future. Thanks for the information!

    1. Do find a journalist who writes about your area of expertise and build up a relationship with him/her. The best is if they do a whole article/feature about you. Getting quoted is only second best. Have patience and when you have something that you can turn into headline news call the media.

  5. This is an informative, but also very important post. Getting information out to the media, can make or break an organization or person. As an author, I was limited to having this done by my publisher, who did not do a good job. As a result, I got very little coverage, even by my local papers when my novel was first published.

    1. In other words, William, it's time for you to find journalists who write about books for top publications. You will get a lot of no's but eventually someone will be interested. So just be determined and persevere. Good luck!

    1. Has someone ever found you on social media and written about you and/or what you do, Jeannette? Happened to me but isn't it really unusual unless you are starting a digital company that looks like the new Uber. The reason I was found is because I'm the only Western woman ever to have held a senior managment position in a huge Saudi congolomerate in Riyadh. They even wanted me to appear in a popular television program. To be quoted is good but it doesn't compare to an article about you/your company.

  6. My dream job as a teenager was to be a journalist/news reader. Circumstances meant I took a different direction in my career. However, I am slowly moving back towards this;

    I write for a magazine
    I blog
    I write for my church (ocassionally)

    With the tough competition out there, I wonder if I have anything more to offer than the budding, young, enthusiastic twenty somethings.

    1. The days when journalism was a good career was over a long time ago. Can you believe that they still educate a lot of journalists in Sweden. Almost all of them will just manage to get a debt after graduating. When I was young it was great and I was an editor in chief at business newspaper when I was 25. Today it's a career that will, sooner or later, force you to do something else.

  7. Maybe, Donna. It probably varies from company to company. When I was a journalist/editor an abundance of companies thought something newsworthy was happening in their business that would interest nobody but themselves.

  8. It may be hard to catch the media eye, but I think a lot of businesses, especially smaller businesses, don't recognize the newsworthy moments that occur, because it's not directly related to advertising. There may be a mindset shift needed to reach out to media in more situations.

  9. Possibly the single most annoying thing to reporters and editors is when they are approached by people who don't know what they do and what they cover. There are still an awful lot of PR people out there who take a scatterblast approach to communicating with journalists rather then doing their homework and identifying who would really be interested in their story.

    1. Honestly, as an old journalist/editor I disagree with you about what the most annoying thing that can happen is. It's definitely a freelance journalist who can hardly speak the language but insists he/she has the knowledge needed to write about something you may write about once a year. If they come from a culture where insisting is the name of the game they can drive you insane.

  10. Great tips, Catarina. Some small businesses tend to get a little wordy when it comes to press releases. I agree that it should be straight and to the point. Media wants content that readers can understand.

    1. Have you tried building up relationships with journalists/editors, Sabrina. Already at the age of 25 I was an editor in chief of a business magazine. Press releases? Usually only if we needed something to fill a gap. But when someone built up a relationship with me or one of the journalists they frequently got published.

  11. This is so true. My Charity depended on goodwill and visibility so I had developed a great media strategy. I would often pick up on Nathional Awareness Months or days and actually write a newspaper/radio release around the theme. 90% of the time it was printed as submitted with no changes.
    I also made sure I was available for last minute TV/Radio interviews if someone else had cancelled.
    Besides building great relationships with the media, it was always interesting and lots of fun. .

  12. Very true article. I think people may be surprised at what a simple phone call can do, along with the ability to tell your story in a way that is relevant to the readers/ viewers of the media source you are contacting.

  13. Very timely information. Just as I am trying to figure out how to best get press releases out about the book that I recently wrote with my daughter, Sweden's youngest non-fiction writer Maria Bern: Green Smoothies – Weight Loss Recipes. It is now published on Amazon, but I know that is just the start…. Many thanks! / Sara Bern
    My recent post Learning on the go – Radio ads |Green Smoothies Weight Loss Recipes

    1. Glad to hear you found my article at an appropriate time, Sara. The best thing you can do is contact journalists that write about culture and make them interested in writing abou the youngest non-fiction writer in Sweden. Sending out press releases will not have the same impact and hence result.

      1. Thank you Catarina! We will follow your advice, for sure!
        My recent post Learning on the go – Radio ads |Green Smoothies Weight Loss Recipes

  14. Great tips, thank you! Media coverage = free advertising so investing time in developing relationships and sending out your message really helps the bottom line!

    1. Absolutely, Michelle. If you just send out your message you may fail. Unless it's a small magazine or newspaper having difficulties finding anything to write about.

  15. You made a good point about making contacts with journalists. I have my nose in my internet business so it is important to hire someone who knows what the media is looking for. I never thought of doing a press release for a newspaper and plan to give it some thought.

    1. Arleen, you will be much better off contacting the journalists that write about subjects that concerns your business. If you send a press release it's less likely to be published or even read. Unless of course you send it to a small paper that is desparately looking for news:-)

  16. I really agree with number two, but have yet to really cultivate actively creating news. Although what can be considered “news” does see to be shifting in the 21st century.

  17. Very interesting post on news and media . The Department I work for has a great relationship with media and happy to share our good news stories with them. In my personal life- I contacted the local paper to ask if they would like to do a feature on my son who had volunteered in London Olympics . The paper loved the story and contacted my son for an interview
    My recent post Silent Sunday: Jalebi, Gathia and sambharo

  18. I like your point about making contacts with journalists. In this digital age, we underestimate how important and useful it is to actually go out of your way to meet someone. Reaching out to someone as a person will make an impression on them, and hopefully that will translate into them thinking of you when they are putting together a story for publication.

    1. Thanks Meredith. Just sending press releases doesn't work anymore. Unless it's for a small publication that has difficulties finding something to write about. But if it's for, say, the New York Times, you have to get to know the right journalist to get them to write about your company. The majority of press releases sent so such a publication are never read.

  19. Richard Branson is a great example, as was Steve Jobs. When you think of those people you think of their products. You make very good points with this posts. When considering contacting media with your news I think the question might be, What’s in it for them?” Will your news be something their readers want to know about?

  20. Hi Catarina – this is so true. When I took over the management of a charity, it was basically a 'hole in the wall' operation, unknown to most people in the community. I decided to change that and within months I had organized a free event for youth groups which appealed to the media and I had TV, Radio and Press coverage of the event. After that it was easy to let them know when I was planning another newsworthy event and they always responded. Did wonders for the organization.

    1. Great example, Lenie. Imagine if you had just sent them a press release. Or if you contacted a small local paper, maybe you did and it worked:-) They are much easier to deal with.

  21. Excellent advice and very useful. I've noticed a shying away from traditional media activity lately in preference for social media, which is not the same thing at all. So much of good PR is good sense and by far more effective for getting your message out even if the message is to get people to social media. 🙂
    My recent post Do You Plan For Serendipity?

    1. Thank you, Debra. As you say, publicity on social media doesn't have the impact an article in a reputable newspaper has. Or even better if you manage to appear on television.

  22. Great article Catarina! Thank you posting this as I’m about to embark on some press releases for the UK, in my old stomping ground…

  23. Great article Catarina! I think people have forgotten the news as a source of non-advertising promotion. And Richard Branson is indeed the poster boy for this type of promotion. Solid tips, too.

    1. Yes, they have Jacqueline. Personally don't have a broshure but instead give them a copy of an article about me in a leadership magazine. The title in English would be Woman, manager & Saudi Arabia. The fact that there is a photo of me on the front page with the headline doesn't hurt. And since I enable companies to do business in Saudi Arabia I'm not sure anything could beat such an article.

  24. Great article. I have experienced this phenomenon nearly forty years ago, when I called a editor of a highly circulated youth magazine on Sunday morning and told him " I have traveled 2240 kms to have breakfast with you today"
    The response was expected " He said he is going to wait till I reach and gave me directions.
    I spent nearly whole day with him, even had lunch together. He called me next day in his office. I was interviewed and photographed. Four weeks later I was on the front page of the magazine. That created a wave in the company and they decided to help me by funding my innovations. From that time I have been telling people that publicity is 95% success, hardwork alone is 5% success.

  25. Really enjoyed the post Catarina – you really brought it home that everyone has a story and that if you don't put it forward it won't get told. I have tended to think 'oh why would they be interested' , but your article has encouraged me to approach them. Thanks so much. Look forward to more posts with subscription to yr site.
    My recent post Editing Forward

  26. I heard like following journalists on twitter is good. But to get noticed one need to have real connections. You give great tips. Yes, if you have a business, it is very important to be in the media as an expert. Nice article Catarina.
    My recent post Toronto Zoo

  27. Great article. I especially appreciated the fact that no matter how difficult it might be, it is imperative to pick up the phone and make the initial contact voice to voice. If you just send an email you will drown in an ocean of email messages that will be purged in six months when you get a deleted not read message. Call-write-call is the only way to go.

  28. When you want to get noticed, you really have to be media-savvy. A little publicity is better than nothing! Thanks for sharing this, Catarina!

  29. Great tips Catarina. I have limited experience doing this but I can attest to your point that editors welcome fresh content that appeals to their readers. So, we should definitely be open to approaching them.
    My recent post The Rise of the Cyber Cold War

  30. Wonderful post with sage guidance. I love the idea of injecting emotion into content. If we pay close attention the some of the best marketing campaigns on the planet, they successfully evoke strong emotion and count on our impulsiveness action based on that emotion. Good idea too to keep it short and effective with a strong introduction.

  31. A good article, Catarina!

    As you say, one of the key points is – as you put it – to create news. I call it, "having an opinion." A press release for your new Widget 1.02 is unlikely to attract interest or attention, but a story about how customers can benefit through saving time/money/whatever (particuarly in the context of current events) with Widget 1.02 is likely to get a good deal more coverage…

    1. Thanks Guy and I agree. Or even better if you have a real life story about how Widget 1.02 saved someone say, a lot of money. In particular if the person is willing to be named.

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