What journalists want

Put yourself in their shoes. Journalists are the life-blood of their publications. It’s the content they produce that keeps people reading the magazine, buying the newspaper, listening to the broadcast or watching the television programme.

This in turn impacts on the circulation figures and audience reach, and affects the amount of revenue that can be generated by advertising. It’s a heck of a responsibility.

So what are journalists looking for and what sort of material are they likely to use?

Journalists are busy people, so they will be drawn to material which makes their life easier. They will also receive dozens of press releases every day. Before you send yours ask yourself:

If you were a journalist, would you consider it worth receiving?

• Is the story newsworthy?
• Is the content relevant to the publication's readers?
• Is it well researched with facts and figures included to illustrate points etc.?
• Is it objective?
• Is it well written?
• Is it potentially good enough to use just as it is?

What journalists don’t want:

• A company sales pitch
• Claims that are not backed up by facts
• Stories that are not relevant or of interest to their readers
• Unsolicited material in their inboxes
• Harassment – by phone or email
• Large attachments they haven’t asked for (e.g. jpeg, gif, bmp, Powerpoint or Excel files)

Different journalists like to be contacted in different ways. Some prefer email. Others won't look at unsolicited emails. The majority of sectors still elect to receive paper-based releases and will request electronic copies if they want to use the story. Make sure you find out what is required first and that you target your release at the correct correspondent.

A PR professional knows they’ve arrived when journalists start to contact them and/or their clients for information for forthcoming features. They do this because they know they will be provided with material they can use and given access to key spokespeople for comment and quotes.

Article kindly supplied by http://www.textontap.com

Dec 8, 2006
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