Media relations: Why you must think like a reporter or editorReporters and editors always filter items before considering whether or not they are newsworthy. Just because you think something is newsworthy, it doesn’t mean media will think the same.

To achieve better results with media, it is essential that you learn to think like a journalist and editor.

Here are some key considerations:

1.    Timeliness matters. If you hold an event, and then don’t seek publicity or release a media release until two days later, you’ll receive very little interest from media. The news business works on a ‘happening now’ basis. It has to. Social media, the Internet, YouTube, and of course, radio and television all operate in the ‘now’. You significantly increase your odds of gaining media exposure when you meet the media’s needs of wanting to report on current happenings.

2.    Think local angle.
Within the realm of a larger breaking story, for example a massive oil spill in the Gulf, you can capitalize by piggybacking localized angles to a story that’s happening far away. For example, savvy environmental groups in other parts of the world quickly started to warn of similar oil spill catastrophes waiting to happen in other locations where offshore rigs are are located.

3.    News stories can have a long shelf life.
That means a single initial story can evolve into multiple followup stories. Recognizing potential avenues for followup stories is a skill that can help you gain publicity and whet the appetite of reporters looking to keep a story alive.

4.    Screening questions. Understand the questions that every editor asks before deciding if something is newsworthy:
·    Will the story interest our readers, viewers, listeners?
·    Is the news fresh, or stale?
·    Is there conflict, controversy or is it a feel-good story?
·    What are the opportunities for accompanying photos or video footage?
·    Is the story a ‘one-off’ or is there potential for spinoff stories?
·    Is this advertising or is it news? (Editors will use a critical eye. Advertising is not news. It’s paid space to deliver your unfiltered message. If you attempt to blur the lines, you’ll probably be told to buy a paid ad spot)