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Why isn’t the media covering my event? A PR pro’s guide to scoring earned media
June 19, 2024 | Denise Hnytka

You planned a press event, and you sent out a polished news release. But when all was said and done, you didn’t generate the media coverage you were hoping for. You might be wondering what went wrong. There are likely some simple explanations and some solutions to take into consideration for your next announcement.

Not enough resources.

Newsrooms are shrinking. Newspapers like the Omaha World-Herald that once employed 200 journalists are down to fewer than 40 reporters on staff. Your local TV stations have even fewer reporters working on any given day. Not only are there fewer people to cover your events, but the journalists who are available are fighting tighter deadlines and higher expectations to cover multiple stories a day.

That means when you host your event becomes even more important (mornings are better!) and your expectations for how much coverage you’ll get may have to shift.

If you’re hosting a press event, plan to send out high quality pictures and (horizontal) video to your media partners immediately after. You don’t get anywhere by withholding content, and the outlet will likely appreciate the assist. It’s a second chance to get your news on air, online or on social media.

Not enough interest.

It seems obvious, but is your news genuinely interesting to people outside your organization?

Taking ego out of the equation – would you share your news with a friend? Would it generate conversation at a dinner party? In a survey of journalists by MuckRack, 73% responded that the number one reason they reject a pitch is because it is simply not relevant to their viewers.

If the average journalist gets 30 pitches a week, that means only eight of those emails meet even the most basic qualification: relevance! The logistics of the pitch – like timing and length are not the deal breakers. You’re better off spending time and creative energy on the content and story you want to tell – not on the subject line.

Not enough story.

So, what makes a story relevant? A great PR pitch includes robust photo, video and interview opportunities. But those alone won’t sell your story. What will? Consider these three keys to capturing a reader’s or viewer’s interest.

  1. Take me there. What can you show or share with a viewer that’s outside the norm? Use a journalist to take your audience to new places, like behind the scenes of your organization or by offering a new perspective that they’d normally never get.
  2. Teach me something. What can the viewer or reader learn from this story – whether it’s a new skill, a life hack or interesting information about a topic that can benefit their lives? Bring your audience along to tap into someone’s knowledge and skill; it’s an easy way to show your organization’s expertise!
  3. Save me time, save me money. These are universal topics everyone can relate to. What is the impact of your news? Whose life improves because of your news and how? More broadly – remember that the best stories are not about products, buildings or contracts. They’re about people. Find the character in your news and you’ve found yourself a solid story.

Need some advice on creating killer news stories and getting the coverage you want? Give us a call!

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