What are your top tips for securing national media coverage on serious daily newspapers or the BBC?

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How to secure national press coverage

Here’s a very old post I wrote that includes some tips on how to pitch to the BBC.  Despite it being written over seven years ago, the advice holds true and the key to being a good spokesperson is:

  •   Availability
  •   Flexibility
  •   Don’t promise and then not deliver
  •   Highlight access to the local BBC studios.

Basically, make it easy for the journalist to work with you.  Pitch a strong story to the right journalist, and then make sure you deliver and are available.  You don’t get second chances.

In terms of stories, be timely.  For example, the media is always looking for businesses to interview on big issues such as the Election, Brexit, economic and output figures i.e. exports up or down.  Have a think about the issues you could comment on and make a note of the key dates coming up so you know when to pitch your views in advance.

The FT’s economic calendar is great for keeping up with global economic reports and events.  You can also search by UK-only events and reports too – good for issue jumping and commentating on relevant issues for your business.  The media also often contact business associations such as The FSB and British Chamber of Commerce when they are looking for businesses to interview and business locations to film.  If you are a member of an association – contact them and put yourself forward as a business case study.

Build up your profile – build relationships with your local journalists and provide them with comment around issues.  This will help build your online profile and you’ll be able to share your interviews/coverage, which helps to build your credibility with the national media.  They are more likely to interview you if, for example, you are proven in some way.  So if you have a clip of a local media interview you’ve done – use it to show that you are up for the job.

Other tips for success are to contact the BBC (other TV networks are available) ahead of quiet periods, such as Christmas and pitch a piece they can pre-record and have ‘in the can’ to use over the Christmas period.  And, be visual – think TV.

Get to know the media and the opportunities.  For example BBC Breakfast runs lots of stories and interviews with SMEs, and the broadsheets such as The Guardian and The Telegraph have excellent SME business pages/networks and sites to cover your story.

Use Twitter.  Twitter is a great tool to get to know key journalists, follow what stories they are covering and build relationships with them.  I’ve had lots of success pitching and then securing great coverage for Nellie PR clients using Twitter, including interviews on BBC Radio 4 and in-depth business pieces in The Times and The Guardian amongst many others.  Keep an eye on Twitter and #journorequest opportunities tweeted by the media looking for news and people to interview.

Here I am talking about how to use social media for PR and a quote from the journalist Dan Martin on how we used Twitter effectively – just to who you what works:

“Ellen at Nellie PR pitched me an article via Twitter. Her tweet was perfect in that it made direct reference to my target audience and the sort of content I cover. I replied immediately and the subsequent article was of excellent standard. My members also thought so as the article has so far generated around 1,500 reads. The author has since provided me with more highly relevant content.

“As a journalist who uses Twitter extensively it is often easier to get my attention via social media than by email. However, it is vital that PRs understand precisely what and who I write about and target their pitches appropriately. Nellie PR does this well as Ellen has taken the time to understand how I work, check the sort of content I publish and provide copy to which my members will respond.”

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Jimmy Bay