3 ways to score summertime news coverage

Journalists will be scrambling to find suitable topics to fill column inches and air time. Plan far in advance so you can get attention.

Summer is just around the corner. Journalists and their sources will be vacationing and enjoying the long holiday weekends that the warmer weather affords.

PR pros have multiple opportunities to pitch—and land—some news coverage during the sultry season. Mapping out a strategy now for the coming months makes good sense.

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Here are three guidelines for making the most of the languid summer news cycle:

Plan carefully: As with planning a long weekend getaway, plot your media relations strategy well in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to pitch decision makers. Some journalists plan weeks ahead for their break and want stories filed and ready for publishing or airing before they clock out for the holiday.

Get out in front of your competition with timely stories that tie into seasonal topics. Determine which of your leaders will be available—when they can be reached before and during the big three summer holidays. Share this information with interested reporters, bloggers and producers. These decision makers will appreciate your forethought and knowledge of their needs and deadlines.

Pack light: Your pitches should be short and sweet. Journalists don’t have a lot of time— especially when they’re trying to get out of the office for a few days. Reporters and editors often admit that if an email pitch is too long, they hit delete without reading it. Instead of sending a lengthy, drawn-out pitch, first share only the most compelling information in a bulleted format. You can provide more detail by including links.

Take lots of pictures: Multimedia elements can help push your story to the top of the heap. This is especially true during holiday weekends when most news outlets’ photo, video and graphics departments operate with a skeleton staff. Provide high-quality photos, graphics or video with your pitch in an easy-to-use format. This gives journalists another reason to choose your piece over other holiday-pegged pitches they might receive.

Try to relax during long holiday weekends, but don’t unplug completely. Keep your cell phone handy in case you get a call from a news organization or blogger. It will be worth it when the coverage comes in.

Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in both 2013 and 2014 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.

Topics: PR

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