What to do – and not to do – when writing stories for the media

A valuable story means people out there – the readers, listeners and audience – will learn, be informed or find some other value in your story.

What to do – and not to do – when writing stories for the media

It has happened countless times where a brand has provided me with marketing copy for a press release.

We understand every story is important to you. You would love for the public to know about your cause, campaign, service or product. Your innovative ideas and unpresidented results. But ask your self these questions:

Is it newsworthy?

There is a big difference between important and newsworthy. Yes is it important that you have outperformed your competitor for three years or that you have recently launched a new product. But this is important to you and your brand. Ask yourself why your client or potential client would think it is important.

A newsworthy story gives insight or new angles on current affairs. You’ve outperformed your competitor? Great. Why? Did you use new technology? Does this make a difference to the lives of your customers? For example giving back and reducing prices (think of grocery stores or internet providers). Imagine one internet provider reducing prices because they outperformed the rest. How many people would sign up with them?

Does your story add value?

A valuable story means people out there – the readers, listeners and audience – will learn, be informed or find some other value in your story. And if you are valuable to an audience, you are valuable to a journalist, editor or producer.

The real secret to success

Ask any journalist and they will tell you there are surefire ways to get your story and brand out there.

Know your publication

Read the paper or magazine. Visit the website. See which journalists writes about stories in your niche. It takes time but ultimately will save you embarressment from sending stories that are irrelevant to the journalist or publication.

Know your journalist

Newsrooms are getting smaller an journalists now have to cover more beats, in addition to creating many stories for online portals. Make sure you know who the correct journalist is for your story – they won’t appreciate being on a distribution list that does not apply to them.

Write your story with the reader in mind – what do they need? Do they need advice on how to improve their health or do they need you sell them diet pills?

And please, don’t discredit yourself by including an “about us” jn your story or press release. Don’t include lengthy paragraphs about your brand, its vision and success. Do include links to your website and social pages so the journalist can visit these – but don’t expect these links to be added to a news site. It it considered free advertising and no credible publication will do that in any of its stories. Read more about this topic here.

Trust me when I say: If you are knowledgable in your field and if you regularly comment on news or updates in your industry, people will come to view you as an expert and turn to you when they need to make a purchase or sign up for a service. And the journalists, editors and producers will keep coming back for more.

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