6 mistakes to avoid when working with media

PR Agency Germany - Industrie-Contact
6 mistakes to avoid when working with media

Most common mistakes in communication

Successful communication with the media is the key to launching press releases. What are the most common mistakes?

  1. Online presence and communication do not fit together
    When a journalist receives a press release, he will research the topic or the company online before publishing it: Usually he takes a look at already published reports, evaluations and the online presence. It is therefore extremely important that the core messages on both channels fit together. First, the online offerings (website + social media channels) should be easy to find, and second, their content should not contradict the press release. Therefore, all online offers must be quick to find, well structured, easy to navigate and have a consistent message: This means that the entire online presence must support direct communication with the media.
    This is how mistakes can be avoided:
    Before approaching the press, it must be clearly defined what image of the sender is to be conveyed: What does the company stand for, which goals and target groups are to be reached …? As an aid, 2 or 3 key messages can be expressed, which should then be considered in every media approach. These are identical to the information on the company website and the social media channels.
  2. The story is missing
    Every press release needs the famous storytelling, the emotionalization of pure facts, so to speak. Figures, data and facts about a company are not enough to create an interesting article for the reader. They would only arouse the interest of industry magazines – daily newspapers also need a topical hook. Unfortunately, journalists receive press releases every day that do not go beyond a company portrait or story and thus are unsuitable for reporting.
    This is how mistakes can be avoided:
    It is therefore important to think of an interesting hook before contacting the media. This can already emerge from the headline. The hook should arouse curiosity and interest in the media representatives or encourage them to read on.There are various techniques to create a great headline. The most important points are to attract attention, include the SEO relevant Keywords, mention important numbers and to appeal to emotions. For example, this headline was very successful in farmer magazines: “A small mistake that cost a farmer 3000€”.
  3. Addressing the wrong contact persons
    A well-researched press mailing list is the be-all and end-all of successful press work. Unfortunately, many research tools currently available on the market do not provide up-to-date information, or often only the chief editor of a medium is listed. It is therefore worthwhile to narrow down the target media and, if necessary, to research the appropriate department heads or specialist editors individually so that the message also reaches its target. Incoming e-mails are skimmed over and deleted within seconds in the editorial offices. If the addressee is not the right contact person, he may ask to be deleted from the distribution list after multiple emails … Thus, he will not be interested in further topics in the future, even if they might be relevant for him. What a pity!
    This is how mistakes can be avoided:
    If you research your target media, you will quickly find out whether the medium (no matter whether online magazine, magazine, daily newspaper, TV show or radio show) is really suitable for the topic. Online, it is often possible to research which editor is responsible for the topic in question. Otherwise, you can call the editorial office directly to find the right journalist. This gives you the best chance of success!
  4. Generic contact data is not target-oriented
    In order to really reach the appropriate recipient directly, it is necessary to research their personal email address. Especially in times of the pandemic, many journalists work from home offices, and the chance of reaching them 100% is greatest if you write to them personally. Unfortunately, many messages are lost in the editorial mailboxes (e.g. www.ndr.de/visite) or it is difficult to track them within the editorial office.
    This is how mistakes can be avoided:
    Investing time to find out personal contact data is half the battle. However, it is not always easy to find out the contact details of journalists. Sometimes they are nicely listed, including the subject area, in the imprint or in the author box at the end of an article. Another option is to search online on the social media profiles of the person in question or in journalist databases.
  5. Impersonal addressing Journalists
    The e-mail cover letter is the first impression of a press release and should not be impersonal like “Dear Sir or Madam, attached you will find our press release about …” At this point, many journalists have already dropped out.
    This is how mistakes can be avoided:
    Individual topic proposals to specific contacts are ideal instead of a widely distributed press release to a big mailing list. Even if a press release is generally suitable for articles in the economics section, each medium has its own focus and perspective. In a personal cover letter, it can be expressed that one has dealt with the work of the person or has thought about which aspects of the report could be most interesting for him. For basic information, the press release, the factsheet or a photo can also be sent as an attachment.
  6. The wrong timing
    After the press release has finally been completed and the target media and contact persons have been carefully researched, the timing of the release is also enormously important for the success. A Friday afternoon, for example, is a very unfortunate time for a press release.
    This is how mistakes can be avoided:
    Each medium has a different work cycle depending on its publication intervals. A daily newspaper, for example, has a clearly shorter cycle than a monthly magazine. Shortly before the printing deadline or broadcast on TV and radio, editorial teams are usually under stress and their attention is elsewhere than when they receive an incoming press release. Seasonality is also a decisive factor for the timing of the broadcast: For example, a topic about skin injuries during gardening and their therapy with product xy is ideally suited for spring and summer, but less so for winter. This is because the media report on topics that are currently appropriate for the season, e.g. diets at the beginning of the year, sun protection in summer, etc. … It is important to consider the lead time, i.e. from the start of production of the monthly magazine to the editorial deadline, for example. This can be several months if necessary. It is therefore important to catch the optimal moment to confront the editor with the appropriate topic at the right moment.

Your IC team wishes you good luck 😉



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