Claire Celsi is a public relations practitioner in West Des Moines, Iowa.
The news cycle is a tireless beast. There are countless media outlets looking for stories and content - 24 hours a day. I always recommend that clients tell their own stories by starting a blog and using their website as a self-publishing tool. But, there are times when it's appropriate and even necessary to reach out to the media and entice them to help out by telling a compelling story on your behalf.
Interaction with the media is like a graceful dance routine. Timing is everything! Getting pushy and over-eager is like stepping on your partner's toes. Sitting around the edge of the dance floor doesn't work either. No one will notice you unless you take a chance and get our there and dance.
When sharing news with the media, it's important to remember that the timing of your outreach is crucial to success. Be sure to follow these recommendations to have a better chance of getting noticed:
- Give enough advance notice: When publicizing an event or something that has a shelf life - like an application deadline - don't send it to the media one day ahead of time. Unless it's breaking news, editors need a little time to fit it in the right spot in their newspaper or newscast.
- Seasonality: If launching a new product tied to the weather or time of year, make sure your pitch is delivered to the media when it makes sense to talk about it. For example, if you have a new line of kids backpacks, start talking about it in July when parents are shopping for back-to-school purchases.
- Pay attention to the reporter's schedule. Sending a news release on Sunday or the day before a holiday almost gurantees that no one will be there to read it. Even the time of day can make a big difference.
- Be cognizant of breaking news or other big stories. Trying to pitch a reporter during the Iowa State Fair is an uphill climb. The reporters are either at the fair or on vacation, so don't expect to get a response.
- Stories are cyclical, but if that reporter just wrote a piece about the same subject two weeks ago, don't expect them to write about your news. Wait a few months or come back with a fresh angle.
Having a great story to tell is very important. But it won't matter if you botch the timing.