Learn to think like the media.


So often when it comes to media and public relations, we excel at thinking about what WE want.

The clips we want to see, the outcome we want to achieve, the contacts we want to make, the accolades we want to receive.

But, what about what the media wants?

Any great PR professional will tell you that winning coverage, and winning it consistently - is all about learning to think like the media.

In 2018, there seems to be less time and less space on the media landscape than ever before. Journalists are flooded with PR pitches, interview requests and story ideas around the clock. You email is vying for a spot among hundreds of others in the inbox. Your launch might be competing with a bunch of other launches all scheduled around the same time in the same city.

Learning to to think like the media helps you cut through the surrounding white noise and gain traction. It propels you to get noticed by online, broadcast, print, radio, TV producers and writers alike.

If there’s one area to invest in this year - it’s doing more research and thinking a little less about our own desired outcomes - and a little more about what the media want and expect.

Do you tend to send media releases and alerts out on mass to blanket contact lists hoping for a couple of bites here and there? 

Mass media sends are important. But think about how much more effective would it be if you took the same story idea, and pitched it uniquely, individually, in different formats to catch the attention of different types of media?

For interest - breakfast radio and TV news producers are deciding their line-ups from the afternoon and late night prior, to extremely early in the morning. Try pitching your stories to line-up with their timing considerations - perhaps an embargoed alert for a press call, or the offer of an exclusive a few days before a big event - so they’re not scrambling to get together a crew super-early on the morning.

When it comes to radio, online and TV newsrooms - they tend to be extremely busy close to, and at the top of, every hour. Try calling-in or sending your pitches from a quarter past to half past the hour to get the best chance of a quick read.

Consider deadlines - would your target journalists, whatever the medium - really appreciate a follow-up phone call or email? So often we work to our own schedules, and fail to think about the best time to contact the media. Print journalists work to their deadline at the very end of a day, while TV journalists need to get their stories finalised and signed off ahead of the nightly news bulletin. A poorly-timed send or follow-up can frustrate journalists, especially if they are under pressure and pressed for time.

They seem like simple considerations - but they can make all the difference as to whether your stories get picked up or not.

Learn to think like the media - you’ll build consistent partnerships with journalists when you know, understand and trust each other. And that comes with doing your research.

A little less about us, a little more about them!

Katie Clift

*If this blog post helped, drop me a line at katie@katieclift.com to say hi! You can also grab a free copy of my Personal PR Planner, tried and tested internationally for over a decade. What are you waiting for? Upscale your media coverage today!

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Katie Clift