op-ed

Three YUGE Mistakes You Must Avoid When Accessing The Media

The media controls the world. What is read on the web, heard on the radio and seen on television shapes the way people think. If you have a message that you want heard, you need to understand how the media works.

Many people misinterpret the minds of the media. A business owner, for example, will send in a press release and then be puzzled about why his or her story was not picked up by the press.

The pitfalls are many. But here are the three huge mistakes you must absolutely avoid:

1. Don’t toot your own horn. Journalists see through a self-indulged approach. When accessing the media, you must understand the mentality of a journalist. So few people do. An experienced reporter with good instincts will know what stories touch the hearts of viewers. Therefore, a self-praising press release written poorly — with boring facts that simply toot your own horn — will likely get turned down. In order to make the news, your press release must entice the imagination of the person to whom you present it. It must be a story that touches the soul — not one that promotes you and you only.

2. Don’t send mass emails. People trying to access the media usually send mass emails for every single event, hoping that at least one story will land. Avoid this mass email approach. Instead, you must learn when to move forward at the appropriate time and when to remain patient. Specifically tailor each story for the appropriate reporter. If you continue to take the mass email approach, your email will end up in the glance folder, as I like to call it. The glance folder is where the reporter subconsciously makes the decision he or she will likely not cover the story before the email is even opened. Out of obligation to be informed, the reporter clicks on the email with the tap of the finger on the keyboard. The email is merely glanced over. The reporter thus confirms it was a waste of time.

3. Don’t use bad video or bad photos (or no video and no photos). In today’s world, technological your press release needs video and photos. Videos are used in every news medium because everyone has a website. Websites with video get more traffic. A common mistake made is submitting boring videos or no video at all. Additionally, many people shoot videos on their cell phones the wrong way. Remember: When recording video on your cell phone, turn it horizontally. Look at the shape of your computer and television. Your phone should be held in the same position to mimic those screens when accessing the media.

Jill Osborn is author of “Accessing The Media: How to Get Good Press.” She has more tips at her website.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.