Speak to journalists

If you are unsure whether your press release is relevant or of interest, call a journalist you want to send it to and ask them.

Some will appreciate being asked rather than being bombarded with irrelevant press releases. Some might not be helpful or appreciate your call as, just like any profession, everyone is different. As long as you don’t hassle journalists and they’re not nearing a deadline, many will be accessible. After all, talking to people to get news is a big part of their job.

When preparing my own weekly news pages for our local newspaper, I am quite happy for people to call me. Some are very timid when they have really interesting stories, while others are sometimes over-enthusiastic about a story that is more interesting to them than anyone else. I try to be helpful and give a realistic view on the merits of each story. I’ll help to tease out a good story to make it into an interesting article.

What if you get an abrupt ‘no’? Don’t give up. If you think they’ll answer you, ask why a journalist does not think your story is interesting or suitable for their publication. Use this to improve your next press release.

If you show you have interesting or relevant news, you could become a useful source for journalists: the person they call when they want comment.

Building relationships with journalists is an important part of public relations. See it as an essential part of business similar to talking to your accountant.

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