Want to attract the media’s interest? Here are the secrets to ‘hooking’ a journalist

It may sound cliched, but journalists are always looking for a good story.

If you can provide one, you’ll be on your way to getting the media to notice your product, service, company, or event. But the secret is to provide a ‘news angle’ to journalists.

That is, it’s a way for them to say, “This is why I think my readers will enjoy reading this story”.

Now a news angle (or hook) could be anything – a particular person, an event, a controversy, trend or something else entirely. The key is that the hook must be something that captures the attention of the reader. Something that stops the reader mid-scroll.

So, what draws the media’s attention to specific subjects, celebrities, businesses or even brands? That’s the question you need to be able to answer in order to become a media favourite and it starts with both anticipating what a journalist needs and giving it to them exactly when they need it.

This requires doing a bit of homework, which includes tracking a journalist’s stories and closely following their social media conversations. This helps you get a sense of who the journalist is and what it is that floats their boat.

Landing a great media opportunity creates the “halo” reaction – a surge of positive perception that positions a brand top of mind with its target audience, which, naturally, is the overall objective.

To ascend to the status of ‘media favourite’ by regularly getting your brand in the press, here are a few tips:

  1. Be consistent

Journalists will happily accept your text messages, emails, and even phone calls if you consistently feed them unique and fascinating stories. Don’t waste their time. Instead, offer up information that is both relevant to them and timely. And do it consistently.

  1. Get personal

Don’t just talk about your business and product. Instead, demonstrate how your story’s personal aspect is crucial to the plot. People are interested in other people. Essentially, create a storyboard for them.

  1. Get everyone onboard

Ensure that if a journalist contacts your office, everyone understands what to do. Opportunities can be missed if your staff aren’t sure who media enquiries should be referred to. Put a process in place and ensure everyone knows it.

  1. Think as a news producer

Before proposing a story or idea to a journalist, picture the best way the journalist could relay the message in the form of b-roll or supporting images. Excellent stories are often rejected because insufficient thought has gone into creating graphics and footage to help bring the story to life.

  1. Include stats and numbers

Statistics provides a hook that media personnel love as it is both simple to understand and provides depth and credibility to a story.

  1. Build a strong personal brand

Having a solid social media presence helps attract media interest. LinkedIn and Twitter are good starting points. Use these social networks to connect with the people who are involved in your brand’s cause.

Engage with people, especially those in the media who cover the topics that are most relevant to your industry. Make sure your news content is relevant and appears precisely in front of your target customers.

  1. Stay ahead of the news

You may be the expert in your business domain, but you need to keep up with what else is going on in the world. A media favourite is the first person the media turns to for insight into a story and often helps influence public opinion.

  1. Continue the story with your own angle

Regularly ‘hook up your caravan’ to current events that have story potential and a strong and obvious connection to your own story. A process also known as ‘newsjacking’. This offers an opportunity to inform journalists about your own story and its relevance to trending news, the market, consequences and position yourself as the expert.

Finally, express your gratitude to the journalists after getting featured in the news article. A personalised thank you note is valued by journalists. It also increases your chances of being called back in the future.

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