Feb 12 22:00 2002 IAN EDWARDS Print This Article

If you ... how positive news stories can ... to positive business ... then you should know that the summer period offers you a unique media ... ... to increase you

If you understand how positive news stories can contribute to
positive business performance,Guest Posting then you should know that the summer
period offers you a unique media relations opportunity to increase
your coverage and "free ink." Here's what you need to know to
formulate a headline-generating PR strategy in July and August.

Customers and other stakeholders like doing business with winners and
one marker of success is a positive news story with your name in it.
In stark contrast to paid advertising, media consumers believe that
news stories are objective and that translates into greater
influence, better sales and improved public awareness.

We all know, however, that placing a story in the media can be a
challenge, depending on the "newsworthiness" of your story pitch.
Your pitch, whether it is a phone call to a reporter or a news
release distributed by wire, will succeed or fail on your ability to
offer journalists news they can use.

In the summer months, however, news stories with lesser news value
have a greater chance of success. Strong news stories will get better
play or more prominent placement in the media. Here's why:

• NEWSROOM STAFFING CHANGES: Like the rest of us, experienced
reporters, editors and producers take holidays over the summer
months. Also, most newsrooms take on student interns and replacement
workers for vacationing employees.

What does this mean for placing stories? "Green" reporters, eager for
their first bylines and credits, are often more approachable and open
to story pitches than veteran beat reporters are.

• OVERALL NEWS VOLUMES DROP: While breaking news such as crime and
accidents seem to generate a consistent stream of articles over the
year, there is generally less competition for non-breaking news such
as features, trend stories, and special reports. For instance,
governments are usually not in session, business deals tend to slow
and special events are few in summer.

A story pitch that wouldn't get any attention in the busy fall
period, therefore, may be substantially more interesting to a
journalist in the summer simply because it conveniently fills
the "news hole." But it's never an easy sell to get your story
placed, just easier in the summer.

executives get into the news is by providing "expert commentary." For
example, if you are an investment executive, you may be able to
explain shifts in the stock market. If you work in the health sector,
you may be able to provide context regarding a new medical discovery.
Reporters tend to rely on a stable of quotable experts and in the
summer, more than any other time of the year, those experts are less
available. If you are an expert, you should be introducing your
credentials to the reporter covering your sector.

media, your general approach in the summer is not a lot different
than a media relations campaign rolled out at other times of the

You need a strong media release tailored to the needs of the specific
news organization. Backgrounders, briefs or point-form fact sheets
are useful if your story is complex. You have to be available for
interviews, cooperative with helpful information and ready to answer
the easy and the hard questions related to your story.

A specific difference, however, is finding out who should hear your
pitch. Presuming the regular reporter covering your sector is away,
you should find out who the fill-in journalist is. Whether or not the
reporter is " green," you need to cultivate a professional
relationship based on an honest exchange of news and information. The
more you understand what they need for an article, the more likely
you will find your name in the news.

There are some drawbacks to summertime news, though. There is less
news consumption – readership drops for publications and fewer people
watch the evening news. So a news story in the summer may not reach
as deeply into your target markets. Also, while it is easier to pitch
a story to a green reporter, the chance for error is greater. New
journalists make mistakes as they learn and you might be the lesson.

But your summer news story will live on in computer archives and
searchable databases. Depending on its news merits, your story may be
followed by other media well into the busier fall period. Also, your
summer news hit cost a lot less than display advertising and earned
you a lot more credibility.

Scan your organization for news and get your PR machinery moving to
place some valuable summertime stories.

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About Article Author


Ian Edwards is a senior consultant with Verus Public Relations
( and Reputations Inc.
( A specialist in getting clients in the
news, he has a special summer PR package to introduce organizations
to the promotional power of the media.

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