Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Following up your Media Release and Ensuring it Hits the Mark

Following up your Media Release and Ensuring it Hits the Mark

Other help sheets in this section of the Media & Marketing Centre have looked at how your group can write a high-quality media release, as well as send it out to the media.

But writing and sending that media release for your group's big event, launch, activity or attraction is not the end of the story. You and your group can't afford to just sit back, rest on your laurels and hope that the inquiries start rolling in from the media.

You have to follow up your media release to make sure it has hit the mark.

The first thing you should do is ring the people who you sent the information to, even if it is just a very quick "have you got our release? Do you think you will be able to attend?" Or "Are you planning to do something with it?"

You want to ensure that your big media event turns into a small gathering of group members, with virtually no media coverage at all.

This help sheet sets out to provide you and your group with some handy tips on following up your media release to make sure your special event is as special as it can be.


Tips on Following up Your Media Release

  • Build and strengthen your media contacts.
Try not to send out releases addressed to just a media outlet without a reporter's name.

Knowing who to get in touch with at each media outlet is an important component of getting your event in the news - and a key step towards that is having an accurate and up-to-date media contact book.

The help sheet Creating Your Media Contact Book available at the Media & Marketing Centre, can give your group some ideas on how to do this.

  • Understand that a media organisation is made up of many different sections who may not pass on your information.
In some media outlets, the Editor is also the Features editor, the sports editor, the Arts Editor, photographer and medical reporter. In bigger organisations, all of these positions are held by different people who might be working in different parts of the building.

One fax to the Chief of Staff might not find its way to the Arts Editor who you REALLY want to receive your information. Or to the Picture Editor who loves the quirky picture idea even though the Chief of Staff has dismissed the release as a possible news story.

The more you target the right reporter or right section, the closer you are to finding the person most likely to be interested in your release.

  • Ring the media outlet after you've sent through your group's press release, and talk to the right person.
Either ask for the person you sent the release to, or for the person who actually received it. They may not be one and the same due to staff changes or holidays, for example. Don't hassle but do find out if they are covering or intend to use it.

  • Be willing to help - fax another copy of the press release, provide information and give an interview, or show your willingness to set up a photo opportunity to go with your story.
The chance for a photo opportunity either at the event or set up beforehand could provide a big boost to any story about your partnership and its activities.
Also if they want a case study, statistics or examples, try and provide.

  • Offer up something if they can't make it to the event itself.
Also think about sending more information out to the journalist after the event. Some people can't get there but are happy to report what happened. Or to use a photo.

  • Remember that journalists can get busy - particularly local or suburban newspaper journalists - and news priorities change all the time.
Reporters can often have a lot of stories, commitments and tasks going on at once - for example, one journalist at a local newspaper could have anywhere between 7-15 stories on the go at the same time, maybe more.

This means they are less likely to go to every event. Also news priorities can change at a minute's notice with a major (or more important) story. That's the reality of news.

  • Accept "No" for an answer but also try and learn from every experience.
Sometimes you do everything right and the reporter isn't interested. Sometimes they are interested, do cover a story and it still doesn't get a run. That happens - a lot!

The media are limited by time and space, and often simply can't cover everything put in front of them. For every story that gets a run, there are many more that don't. For every event they go out to, there are many more they could have covered.

While stalking is an offence and you don't want to become a serial pest, it is worth asking the journalist for a minute of their time to find out what you can do better next time.

Not only does it show to the journalist that you are serious about getting media coverage (and flag with him or her that you are likely to contact them again), but it is a great way to get constructive feedback on what you are doing.

Instead, try another pitch or, again, ask them why they didn't cover the story and what you can do to improve your chances of coverage next time around.



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