If you’re wondering why no-one wants to read your company news, it’s probably down to at least one of the eight reasons below:
You think you’ve got an absolutely brilliant story but barely anyone wants to cover it. It’s frustrating to say the least…
Part of my job is to convince journalists to cover a particular story. As a former journalist myself, and drawing on my marketing experiences, I can usually identify how likely a particular topic is to succeed.
If you’re wondering why your news just isn’t getting the attention you think it deserves, take a look at the reasons below and see how many you’ve fallen foul of.
Your news isn’t actually newsworthy
There is a world of difference between internal and external company news. While the appointment of a new director or opening of a new office is definitely interesting internally, it’s generally a hard sell outside of your corporation.
It’s always worth examining your news and asking the question ‘will anyone genuinely care about this?’ If the answer is no, then it’s not the end of the world. Most stories can be turned into something interesting with a few tweaks.
For example, while local news publications probably won’t care about the appointment of a new company director, they might if that person has pledged to bring multiple jobs to the region.
Just remember to be selective with your company news. If you repeatedly send stories which are worthless, you’ll find it harder to get a journalist’s attention when you have something good to report later.
Who is interested in your message?
When notifying publications about company news, it’s important to determine if their readership would be interested in the message. Too many companies gauge success on whether or not they can appear on national press, such as the Guardian or Daily Mail. Although this is an achievement in itself, it might be more beneficial to target readers in relevant trade publications.
If they focus on very particular forms of media, it’s worth concentrating your efforts around these instead of adopting a blanket coverage approach.
You haven’t selected a spokesperson
If a picture is worth a thousand words, an effective quote is worth double that. Quotes are the lifeblood of stories. So much so, you will struggle to find a single item of news which doesn’t have at least some interview aspect.
Consequently, when promoting company news, you will need a spokesperson – ideally media trained – to add weight to the article. They should be knowledgeable about the topic and their quotes should add significant value to whatever you’re trying to accomplish.
You’re not treating journalists like people
It’s easy, when pitching stories, to view journalists as something similar to a gatekeeper. Instead, it’s important to remember that these professionals are people too. Try doing an 8 – 5 office job and receiving about 300 to 400 messages a day from people trying to get your attention.
Given how stressful that is, it’s perhaps no surprise that you don’t get a response straight away – or even at all. Consequently, even if your pitch gets noticed, you probably have about five seconds to get that person’s attention.
Therefore, a carefully-constructed press release is absolutely essential.
Your press release isn’t effective at all
Presenting a journalist with reams of poorly-digestible information is a recipe for disaster and will ensure your press release gets sent straight to the bin. Instead, make sure your first sentence is concise and provides that journalist with enough information as to why your story is newsworthy.
If you need more than one sentence to make your point, consider using bullet points before going into more detail later. If your ‘hook’ can be explained in a matter of seconds, your press release stands a much higher chance of being published.
Your timing is dreadful
At the time of writing this blog post, it’s Mental Illness Awareness Week. Although an excellent cause, the start of the event is a terrible time to pitch mental health-related stories. This is for a few reasons:
- You will be competing with multiple PR agencies and companies to get their news about mental health published.
- If journalists choose to cover the event, they’ll have decided what stories they are publishing prior to this.
- The inboxes of journalists are full to the brim with press releases discussing how free scripts for hypnosis can impact the mental health of an individual. There are only so many column inches a publication can devote to the subject.
As a result, if you’ve missed the deadline for an awareness week, consider waiting a couple of weeks. You’ll probably have a higher chance of success.
While this applies to occasions, it is also affected by the news cycle. There is a reason why some politicians choose to bury bad news when news outlets are focused on a larger scandal…
The news doesn’t do anything for that publication
Much like yourself, journalists care about results. When publishing news, they are often thinking about such metrics as social shares and click-through rates. Consequently, if they can’t see how your company news helps them achieve this, it’s unlikely to get featured.
Consider providing additional resources as well as your news. For example, stats which are easily tweetable, an accompanying video, or interactive infographic breaking down data into easily digestible chunks.
Although we want journalists to help us, it’s important to think about what we can do to help them as well.
You’re relying on the content for news purposes
When company news doesn’t get published, many organisations will just abandon their efforts and put the experience down to bad luck. However, it’s important to have a backup plan should this occur…and probably another backup plan after that.
For example, any stats you’ve used can be referenced in guest posts, your spokesperson can provide insight on related topics in the future, and the news can be converted into a different format and used elsewhere.
Even if your news doesn’t get picked up, there are always interesting opportunities for additional coverage.