Four Tips From the Editors for Better Media Relations

By Bill Fahrenwald, Executive Director, James Street Associates
TMSA’s recent “Pulse of the Media” survey revealed a number of best practices for media relations practitioners. It also revealed some practices you should definitely avoid.

Attendees of the Meet the Press panel at TMSA’s Annual Conference on June 13 will be provided with full results of the survey, along with analysis by four of the industry’s leading and most respected editors.

Here is a preview.

Is 13 your lucky number?

About 40 percent of story pitches submitted via the preferred method—email—are opened by editors. Of those opened, about 33 percent result in some type of published coverage for a “success” rate around 13 percent.

If not, how about 5?

When we get into the arena of news releases, the clutter becomes even more formidable.

Most editors receive more than 50 news releases per day, and a significant number have to deal with more than 200 news releases every day.

And it gets worse. About half of all news release are read, and the majority of survey respondents said they use less than 10 percent of the news releases they read.

When you do the math, you’ll see that 5 percent or fewer of all news releases result in coverage.

2 easy ways to up the odds

First, three quarters of the editors ranked “self-serving” as a major reason they don’t read releases. In other words, you are sending them promos—not news.

The other big mistake is not providing enough information. Think about the basic requirements of journalism: who? what? where? when? why?

If you don’t tell the reader in clear language what’s in it for them to read your news release, the editor isn’t going to bother to try to figure it out.

How to succeed

Being relevant is critical when you contact an editor. And, you can’t be relevant to a publication unless you know what the editor wants.

During the conference presentation, we’ll reveal what content the surveyed editors are seeking, and you’ll have an opportunity to ask the five editors on the panel about your specific challenges.

We’ll provide best-practice examples during the “Meet the Press” panel, including the preferred ways of communicating with editors, where they look for story ideas, and the industry events where you are most likely to find them.

Sign up now!

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