When I have had problems getting coverage—though I didn’t realize it at the time—it was because the story wasn’t actually newsworthy, or because I was talking to the wrong journalists. The purpose of this post is to help you figure this stuff out much sooner than at the 15-year mark in your career.
First, are you talking to the right journalists?
Who covers your news? Which reporters write the most about the topics related to what you do? You should know who they are off the top of your head. If you don’t, start there. Subscribe to the publications they write for. Read the stuff they write. It takes only a couple of minutes a day to do this, and you’ll quickly find that you know exactly whom to talk to when news about your organization bubbles to the surface.
The key here—and you’ve heard it before—is to do your research. Of all the best media relations professionals I’ve worked with, every single one of them did their homework. They’re not magically gifted in media relations (though that could have something to do with it). Rather, they know how to build a target list that makes the most sense for the news they’re pitching on a regular basis. They understand the limitations of their news and that not everything is cut out for the front page of the biggest U.S. newspapers.