How to be featured in the media
by Lynda Heath
The fake news phenomenon that has dominated the media agenda in recent months is having a considerable impact on the PR industry.
With client reputations and, increasingly it seems, agency reputations at high risk of being sullied – even ruined - through disreputable practices, now more than ever, robust, reliable facts and credible sources are the cornerstone to achieving solid, trustworthy editorial coverage.
Working with the media for the past 25 years, we have built a strong reputation among journalists and clients for delivering dependable news stories, case studies and indepth features. These have been based on solid evidence, genuine research, rigorous facts and figures as well as interesting, unusual and groundbreaking news elements.
As a consultancy, we regularly hold internal editorial meetings to brainstorm and assess potential news stories and feature ideas for all our clients. Often, further research and deep diving into the subject area is required to deliver the topic as prepared for the media as possible so that the journalist understands the story immediately and can run with it in its presented form.
When you skim through the media these days, it is easy to spot stories that are ‘manufactured’ compared with those that are genuinely news-led. Yet, even those constructed out of research, entertaining back-stories or people-oriented agendas should have their foundation based on truth and reality if they are to receive space and air time.
One such story that we recently achieved for one of our clients in a major national newspaper and on a BBC news programme among many media was based around its £4 million investment in its new manufacturing and warehousing facilities to be opened by HRH Duke of Kent KG. As a 92 year-old independent family company based in the West Midlands, A Perry & Co (Hinges) Ltd had its roots in World War II ammunition boxes and fighter planes, while smack bang up to date its client base includes Buckingham Palace, Wembley Stadium, HS2, Aardman Animations and the studios that created Star Wars, Harry Potter and Dr Who. All the key ingredients were available including robust financial figures provided by the client and a genuinely interesting interview with the managing director.
However, not all media stories are as obvious as the A Perry one. Often, as a consultancy, we are amazed at how many clients are sitting on genuine stories that have not come to the surface because a sales person, going about his or her normal business, have failed to spot that there is a jewel among their client base – it’s not their core job, after all.
By meeting regularly with our clients, often with the sales team involved, we can identify news stories and feature opportunities that we take to our journalist contacts, delivering credible editorial across all media platforms.
However, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow and no journalist or experienced consultancy will risk their hard-earned reputation on a story with no foundation or meaningful substance. If it doesn’t pass the ‘so what?’ test, then it either requires more work or research or if it can’t stack up then it isn’t a flyer.
To discuss how your potential news stories, case studies and features can make it into the media, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.