The news is constantly seeking new information, creating content, and feeding it to the masses in multiple ways, including websites, social media, email, TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines.
Articles have the power to get your business instant exposure.
There are stories about people and businesses every day. So how do you get the news to do a story about you or something you are trying to advertise?
The news is ALWAYS on the hunt, looking for information of all kinds that is relevant to the audience they reach. So there is a good chance they might want the news you are trying to give them.
If they reach out to you first, that is probably your best bet, but even then it’s still not guaranteed to make the cut.
If you are the one reaching out to news, the first thing a reporter is going to want to know is what is the angle. Why is this news? Is it relevant to the audience you are trying to get in front of? Is it local? New? Special? Will people care about it? What’s in it for the people reading it?
If you are lucky enough to get into the news, I recommend that you have a plan set up to capitalize on the exposure using social media to share your news article and a plan in place to capture any leads that might start coming in to see what you are all about.
You don’t have to do something sensational to get into the news.
If you follow these tips that have worked for me to get information into the news, your chances for success will be increased for some news coverage. Just don’t expect it, be happily surprised if it happens.
Here are my 5 best insider tips to get in the news
1 – Submit a press release
Include your name, phone number, business name, website and any other relevant contact or links to relevant information across the top to help the reporter or editor looking at it get back to you easier. Each news media outlet whether it be radio, tv or newspaper or whatever, should have a website with a contact us or a news submission form. Fill that out with all your info and be sure tell them why your news is important. If they are interested, you should hear back fairly quickly, and then you can get their email to send your press release to them directly or they might just call you to set up an interview, and hopefully, this all leads to a story eventually being published or broadcasted. Your press release should be summarized, the longer it goes on, the better the chances it will not be used due to space restrictions. Careful about adding any kind of attachments, or your email might not even be read when it goes straight to the junk or spam folder. The way to know if this happened or not is to call the place you are trying to get into and ask if they got it. You could also ask in your email that they let you know if they received it ok, if it’s possible to get it in, and if they need anything else from you. Following up one time to get a confirmation that yes or no they got it, is OK!
2 – Write a story yourself and submit it to news
This must be provided typed out in an editable word document, emailed preferably. DO NOT write it out by hand and mail it. Some people actually do this, it’s not time effective for reporters to re-type your story and they will probably not do it no matter how interesting the content is. If you can include some photos, people like to read stories with pictures. If you can save a reporter time by finding relevant photos for your reader submitted article, this will increase your odds they will pick up your story if it’s good enough. If reporters only need to do minor edits, your story it’s way more likely to run than something they have to take a long time to re-write themselves. Do not give them any kind of sales pitch in your press release, or your information might be transferred to the paid advertising department. Stick to informational, conversational tones. Refer to tip #1 on how to find the right person to send your story to and follow up that it was received. You can also offer your expert advice or provide information in a field you are good at, they have a list they keep to call on experts when needed for story quotes.
3 – Keep your eyes peeled for news submission requests.
Business and volunteer spotlights and highlights, are an example of reader submission. Most news outlets have something like this. For example, at the Greeley Tribune, any business can submit 50 words written by them, if we have room we will run it on the cover of the Business section. It can include a photo or a logo, your business name, owners name, how long they’ve been in business, a phone number, and website. At the Greeley Tribune, news will usually let you run these spotlights every six months when they have the room.
4 – Collaboration
I would suggest you read, watch or listen to stories relevant to your news submission, and get the name of that reporter or contact for the news submission desk. You can find the number on the website to call the news main line and ask for them by name. When you get them on the phone, be ready to summarize why you’re calling pretty quickly. Reporters are working on deadline, are busy, so don’t go on, and on and on. Especially if you are leaving them a message. Build a rapport and be nice, do not bribe them, they have ethic rules, and can’t accept gifts or favors in trade for a story. Being respectful goes a long way to encourage cooperation. Reporters are sometimes overloaded with so much information, they can get picky about what stories to pick up. And they have to get their news usually approved by the Editor and Publisher so they need it to be as good as it gets. They are also human like the rest of us, they don’t like to get yelled at either and certainly don’t want to be forced to write any story, just because someone calls and wants coverage.
5 – Calendars
News has a list of things to do and other calendars available to anyone to submit events for free, or for a very low cost. This adds value to readers when they can find things to do easier. I’ve noticed my submissions to calendars rarely are rejected and they run from the time I post it to the date of the event. These are much easier to get in unless you are trying to advertise something that isn’t local, then your listing might show up online but not in print. Sometimes you must submit the event info via email to have it added to the printed calendars, and you must also submit the online calendar info separately to have it appear in print and online. Sometimes news will pick a few from the online calendar themselves to run in print calendars. To submit calendar information you will need to include an event description, date, location, times, cost, contact phone and email, sometimes you can upload or include a photo or logo and your website.
Those are my 5 tips to get into the news!
If you tried all of the above and it didn’t work or the reporter you’re talking to transfers you to the advertising department because they felt your pitch was a little too sale-sy, be nice to the advertising rep, they could be your greatest asset to have at a news company.
If you have information that MUST get in, be open-minded. You could do a native advertising campaign. This is a form of content marketing. The better “advertorials” we can do make it look just like a real article so you can’t tell the difference except for the disclaimer you have to put on that says it’s a paid advertising.
The content is written by a professional writer to make it look just like a real news article, you can get it in the news when you want to. Other benefits you don’t get with free news, is you get to see it, revise it and approve it. And it’s guaranteed to be published!