What journalists REALLY want
I’ve always lived by the maxim that there are three things in life which will tell you the truth – drunk people, children and leggings.
However, an old pal, who was neither drunk, under 18 or wearing spandex, recently refuted my long-held belief when she gave me a few home truths about the state of the PR industry.
My former colleague is a regional journalist and I was picking her brains about what type of content she’d be interested in from one of my clients.
She gave me some useful insights into the changing face of newspapers and what they really want from PRs (and what they, most definitely, do not want).
And, because, I’m a kindly soul, I thought I’d share the wisdom she imparted because otherwise we are all just watering dead plants.
Before we start, a disclaimer. These insights are for one UK regional newspaper but, obviously, this will vary for different publications.
How to Get Media Coverage
1. Clicks & views
Journalists must be confident that a story will generate at least 5000 clicks & 20,000 views.
This is the reason why you may find your niche stories are not getting covered in favour of a story about a budget bakery selling the world’s largest sausage roll.
2. The 30 day rule
For events, you should send information at least 30 days before it happens. This is something technical to do with SEO, which I don’t quite understand.
For big events, ask the journalist if they would like you to create a content plan for them.
3. They hate stories about animals.
This is probably very specific to this publication but their analysis shows that stories involving animals are not popular with their readers. If there is a publication you work with a lot, it’s worth asking them for info on the types of stories which do well and those which bomb.
4. Think Facebook first.
Journalist need loads of content for their social media pages & it often gets viewed by more people than the website.
5. Video content
If you send a video along with photos, you are more likely to get coverage.
6. Why people love….
They love a “why people love...” type story
7. Reviews are tricky unless it’s Beyoncé.
Apparently, reviews of theatre, music and art are a real turn off for readers. The same goes for new bar/restaurant openings unless they are particularly quirky. And people don’t read interviews with musicians (see the Beyoncé exception above).
Again, I repeat the disclaimer that this may be true for this publication, so please don’t shoot the messenger if you don’t agree with my highly unscientific findings.
(Note from ed…but do let us know what you think)
Emma Gunby is a former journalist, who is now a freelance PR specialising in video content. She runs
Marketing and is also editor of the hyperlocal news website,
West Kirby Today.
Follow her on Twitter @emmagunby or Instagram @neonfox_marketing