Six key tips to get your story in the media

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The need for communications professionals to think past writing and issuing their next media release to consider its content and the recipient of their pitch much more carefully, was just one of the messages presented to an audience of over 100 people at the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) Tasmania’s first event.

The audience heard from a guest media panel featuring ABC State Director Andrew Fisher, Mercury Editor Matt Deighton, Southern Cross Television News Director Grant Wilson and WIN Television Tasmanian News Editor Nathan Motton.

The guest panel spoke about the changing media landscape in Tasmania and how each of them are evolving to deal with funding cuts, reduced resources, as well as longer news bulletins and the ever increasing demand for online content in its many forms.

The panel also provided the audience with some much anticipated insight into the best methods for getting their story covered in Tasmanian media and left the communications professionals with six key messages to take away from the event.

1.      Target  the media

Make a point of targeting each of the different media outlets to reflect their particular resources and publication context. Print news media organisations, in particular, said they are looking for exclusive stories or stories that have been pitched to them with their own unique angle.

2.      Build relationships

Get in touch with the media organisation you are intending to pitch your story to beforehand and find out the best person to send your story to particularly with print news. If this is someone you will pitch to regularly ask them to meet over coffee to allow them to put a face to your name and keep in regular contact. Relationships are key.

3.      Visuals matter

Sending a story idea to a media organisation with poor visuals will significantly decrease the chances of the story being run. In the case of TV, the chief of staff looks for releases that offer colour and movement, whereas news print journalists are looking for photo opportunities that will sum up the story in one picture.

4.      Give it a local angle

A local angle and a local spokesperson on a national story will give it another element of newsworthiness as media organisations are more likely to report news that affects a broad cross section of their readers in their local community.

5.      Be open and flexible

It is important to be open and flexible with timing and availability when organising a media call. Consider asking media organisations when they can have a news crew at your chosen destination instead of advising them when you would like them to attend or perhaps give them a range of times.

6.      Separate media and events

Rather than trying to divide your time between speaking to the media and ensuring your event runs smoothly, hold a media conference separately to the event and advise the media that they can attend the event to capture some images or footage if they wish.

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