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Media Relations Tips & Tactics
How to attract media interest in your newsworthy story.
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 by Steven R. Van Hook, PhD

Steven R. Van HookThis is a follow-up article to an earlier piece on crafting media releases.

Once you've honed the perfect release comes the even greater challenge of sparking some media interest in it.

Keep in mind you are not just pitching your release to reporters, but to the fussy editors they report to, and to the still pickier publics they all serve.

As you start your pitch to the press, keep in mind some distinct media types and how you might modify your delivery:

Print Media: newspapers and magazines may go deep into your story as a news feature. Be prepared with data, several sources for quotes, company profiles, and other such detail.

Television: it's a very visual medium; some call it pictures with words. Attractive action-packed video might include kids running about, and water of some sort can provide an appealing backdrop.

Radio: it's the right-now medium, for fast-breaking events. An old saw says, 'If you hear it, it's news. If you read it, it's history.'

Internet: reaching a global audience as fast as a 'send' command. If your story is picked up, most media can get you play on their websites as well.

Consider that appeals attracting attention in the marketplace can also be effective eye-grabbers in the media as well.

And recall the sorts of story angles you should consider while drafting your media release can fortify your media pitch:

Pitch Angles

If after all your efforts preparing and pitching your release you are fortunate enough to land an interview, there are some important items to keep in mind:

  • Understand it is not the media's job to make you look good -- in fact, they may score more points for reporting something bad about you. Remember the enduring news slogan, 'if it bleeds, it leads.'

  • A reporter is under considerable limits. An editor often decides if or when a story will run and what news hook it will have, not the reporter. Reporters are typically rushed with little time to folllow-up on facts or quotes. They most certainly won't give you an advance look at a piece.

  • Be prepared for any question -- especially one you'd least likely want to answer.

  • Mistakes and misquotes occur, and unless it is central to your message, don't worry too much about it. As they say, don't argue with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.

  • Don't expect too much from any one news report -- even if it goes national or global. Best results happen over the long haul, not by any one story.

You can find lots of tips for pitching to the media by professionals who do this for a living with free articles on media relations.

Be sure to watch the video below to see more ideas on dealing with the media.

Media Relations

You can find more articles on fundamentals of marketing and communications on pages here, and on our sister website

And visit our YouTube video libraries on Communications & Business, and Personal Development.

Steven Van Hook has taught MBA and undergraduate public relations, marketing, and communications courses for colleges and universities in the 
United States and abroad for more than a decade

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