The team at Approach regularly speaks to, and works with, a huge array of businesses – from household brands and commercial events to manufacturers and those in professional services.
One thing they all have in common is understanding the need to tap into their local and regional press to reach their target audiences. Whether that be to support their regional brand awareness, support a recruitment drive or connect with those living close to the business – and according to recent research from Reuters Institute, regional and local newspapers are amongst the most trusted print news titles – more so than nationals in fact.
We like to think we have pretty great relationships with the regional press in Yorkshire and know a thing or two about making the best approach to regional journalists elsewhere. (It helps that our team’s lead by a former newspaper journalist and that we’ve won CIPR PRide awards for our regional campaigns!).
Here are six top tips for getting your stories in the regional press, including golden reminders from some familiar names in the Yorkshire media:
Read your local papers!
Step one in understanding what to send your local papers is getting to know the publications. Yorkshire Post business reporter, Ismail Mulla, tells us: “Read the publications that you’re pitching at. It will not only let you know whether your stories have been used or not but also give you an idea of the sort of thing the publication requires. You will also get a clue as to how your copy should read.”
Turn an average story into a page lead
Don’t underestimate the power of photography. Creative press photography can take a story from a small NIB (news in brief) to a half page if utilised well. At Approach, we never complete a media sell in without accompanying photography – why miss out on the opportunity to send a visualisation of your story? We recommend using a professional photographer – a seasoned expert who knows what works in the press, how to take a great picture and how to work with a variety of businesses. If budgets need to be considered, here are some of our top tips on taking a great press shot.
Do your research
As well as reading your regional press, follow the publication and its journalists on social media. Journalists will often put call outs on Twitter for stories or business-types they are looking for – plus it will help you get to know them, their interests and how they work.
There are a number of timings to keep in mind when communicating with the regional press.
For example, journalists working on a weekly newspaper will work to different deadlines and lead times to those working on a daily newspaper.
Aim to send news to a weekly newspaper as soon the previous edition is published as journalists will then be in planning mode for the week ahead. Daily journalists on the other hand, will often have a planning meeting mid-morning and be on a print deadline towards the end of the day – so it’s best to try and catch them early on.
Be mindful of image file sizes when you’re emailing them to a journalist; images need to be high resolution for print use but also manageable for most inboxes.
Sending anything above 5MB may mean your email does not get through to the intended recipient – or, that it causes their inbox to meltdown. Consider sharing tools such as WeTransfer to bulk-send larger files together.
Emma Clayton, leisure and lifestyle editor at the Telegraph and Argus and Yorkshire Living magazine advises that good quality photographs to support press releases or features are always required: “High res images are really important, especially for our magazine, Yorkshire Living. Features are only accepted for the magazine if the quality – and size – of the images is good enough.
“We rely increasingly on submitted pictures for the T&A, and the quality varies. Things like cheque presentations are seen as a bit dated now, so we wouldn’t use those anymore. It’s best to ‘mock up’ a picture, illustrating what the event/activity is rather than focussing on presentations.”
Emma also advises checking what’s behind the main subject – for example, don’t pose in front of a radiator! “Think about what’s in the background and what will work well in a newspaper.”
Say thank you
It may seem obvious but saying ‘thank you’ to a journalist for using your story is not only polite but helps in building relationships. It’s surprising how many journalists we’ve thanked who are so appreciative of those two simple words as they don’t often hear them!
It also displays to them that you’re reading their publication and copy, rather than simply chasing for an update.
For more tips on getting your news in the regional media or how to write a press release, speak to us about our bespoke workshops or one-off consultancy sessions, we’d love to help!