It’s a moment that PR professionals dread. Despite your best efforts, when you check for coverage, very few – or no – media outlets have used your carefully crafted news release.
You thought it was a great story – however, the journalists didn’t. A time of frustration, and perhaps with some explaining to do to your client if you work for a PR agency, or as a PR consultant.
All is certainly not lost, but it is probably worth taking a few minutes to evaluate why your news release didn’t get the coverage you felt it deserved, then taking note.
Here are some common reasons for a lack of coverage:
1. Bad timing – if you sent out a topical, timely press release, you may have been overtaken by (news) events. A bigger story that the media regarded as better than yours came up that day. Were journalists distracted by a breaking news story that was nothing to do with your organisation, but all news outlets needed to include? As a suggestion, consider sending out your news release again (however, before you do this, check it is still timely, that the content hasn’t been overtaken by events and, above all, it is still newsworthy)
2. Your rivals beat you to the post. This is one of the most annoying scenarios – a rival company or organisation got better coverage from their news release or event. But why? Were they quicker in issuing their release? Or had they built up a better rapport with the target media they were intending to cover their story? Time to be honest – did they simply have a better story on the day? Do rethink your approach, and perhaps come up with another story that is more likely to be covered next time
3. Awareness – how well do you rank? Are your target media aware of you; your company or organisation? Or was this your first news release? If the latter, it can take a while to gain a foothold with the media, so don’t necessarily be deterred. If it’s your umpteenth release, it may be time for a serious strategy rethink. Is the type of media you sent your release to simply not interested in the your kind of news (again, be honest)? For instance, a technical story about a specialist industry-related topic may not appeal to the mainstream local media, unless there is a strong local angle they can grasp quickly. Will a journalist give you honest feedback (remember, no pestering reporters)? So think, plan and try to gain inclusion in another media segment
4. Returning to the point of my first two blogs this year; did you have a good enough story in the first place, that was well written enough to grab a journalist’s attention from the word go? Take some time to review your materials and list of upcoming news releases
5. Were you able to offer any ‘extras’ like good quality photographs, interview opportunities, follow-up opportunities for features (I will explain more about this in a future blog) or even video footage clips? Professional quality press images that relate to the story may swing the balance in favour of when offered to a regional print newspaper, for instance
If the coverage was weak or not what you expected, for instance; your story was given less prominence than you thought it warranted, try to work out why. Record every item of coverage that you did receive, and whether your key messages came across.