As a PR working across consumer, trade and corporate accounts, it’s an ongoing creative challenge to find new and innovative ways to catch the attention of journalists and deliver news in a creative way. And as with everything in PR – one size does not fit all.
Inspired by this article on PR Daily about alternatives to the press release, I’ve put together some of my favourite and most effective ways to engage with journalists. When you have a list as long as your arm to finish, the best technique is to think creatively.
1. Press release
This is the most widely understood way to disseminate news. We all know the structure: heading, sub-heading, catchy opening, key details, more about the company, PR contact details. In recent months and years, some have said that the press release is dead, but really whatever your approach, it’s all about intelligent, targeted sell-in.
2. Social media news release
Create, publish and share your news to an online, socially-connected audience. Include sound-bites, core facts, YouTube videos, images, documents, relevant links, quotes and tags.
3. Email / phone
Don’t feel you have to be constrained by the typical press release format. If you know the journalist and publication well, you may be able to put together a catchy email or make a phone call that outlines your idea just as well, without feeling the obligation to stick to the ‘news release’ format.
4. Pitch by social media
If you have an existing relationship with a journalist or editor on a social media platform like Twitter or Facebook, you might want to cut through the email noise and pitch to them with a ‘tweet’ or private message. Remember, though, not all journalists like to pitched this way.
5. Pitch in *gasp* real life
Journalists are increasingly busy, so winning their time isn’t easy, but if you manage to meet for a coffee and cake, this can be a perfect way to talk through the stories and angles they’re interested in developing.
6. Pull off a cunning stunt
Stunts can range from the effortlessly simple through to the silly and ridiculous. A close journalist friend once told me that her editor had sent her to an animal sanctuary to film a llama who would only watch ITV news – and they dedicated a whole feature to it, interviewing owners, trainers and even the llama itself! Read about my favourite PR stunts, and why they worked.
7. Create an infographic
Infographics are graphical representations of data and can be used easily and effectively in communicating complicated data. They’re usually fun and compelling, thus making them highly shareable.
8. Try a fact sheet
Fact sheets are an excellent way to break down complicated information into easily grasped, bite-size chunks. Journalists and editors will be able to quickly find information that is useful to them.
9. YouTube video
Create a high-quality video and share with journalists over YouTube. If you have good relationships and good content, reporters may share your video with their readers by embedding it in a news article. At the very least, a good video offers a great way to start a conversation.
10. Provide trials / review samples
We’re not talking bribery here, but sending product samples can win an editor’s attention if you’ve targeted the right people and have a product of real quality, accompanied by a story of editorial merit.
Anything to add?