Your Friend The Editor
I had the
pleasure of moderating a panel discussion on The Insider Secrets to
Publicity. There were many questions asked but a lot of the questions
centered around, how do to contact the editor/reporter, what are
editors interested in printing and what is the best way to communicate
the information to editors. The answers from the three panelists had
some very common threads that answer these questions.
Communications to editors/reporters vary with the person. It is truly
their personal choice.
the older, experienced editors still like to sort through the faxes in
their "in-box", regardless of how busy they are or how technologically
savvy they want to be. Some of the younger reporters and newer
publications are always asking for communication by email. Editors and
reporters get hundreds of communications a day. Making the
communication stand out is key and assured that it won't go into the
delete file or the waste bin. Editors, expect email communication and
faxes so don't think of it as Spam or unsolicited faxes.
hometown publication editors like to get phone calls. This is
especially true if they have the liberty of assigning a reporter to a
story. Editors like two weeks lead time on features for dailies and
more if it is something like a special edition or monthly publication.
not like calls the day something is happening that you want published.
Also don't call at the end of the day. Editors and reporters are "on
deadline" at this time of day and are scrambling to finalize their
stories. Call in the morning when things are more relaxed.
time consideration is desired.
as what editors and reporters want information on and what they will
publish, this too varies. It depends primarily on the type of
publication and obviously the type of readership the publication is
designed for. Daily, local newspapers are truly looking for items of
local interest, national stories with a local angle, timely topics
within the readership community, and the like. National or regional
publications are reporting on what's hot, the trends, and items
affecting the lives of those reading the publication.
editor wisely suggested, "first put yourself in the readers shoes and
think of what you would like to read about and secondly put yourself
in my shoes and think what could be reported on out of all the stories
I get that would appeal to our readers."
Summarize your information and be prepared to tell the editor/reporter
why your story is important or of interest to their readers. Don't
overwhelm them with too many details.
must be new and stories must have a newsworthy angle to it, otherwise
it wont get a.) noticed or b.) published.
preferred vehicle of communication is the press release. The editors
on our panel stated that 99 times out of 100, press releases are
edited and shortened. Because of this they ask that press releases be
short and to the point. Rambling and unnecessary details will get
noticed and remembered in a negative way. Short is good for press
releases. This is one reason why the press release is preferred. When
asked their opinion on the submission of feature articles, all
unanimously stated that these are not desired. That's what editors and
reporters do is write stories about news. They usually don't want
anyone else doing it or they are not needed. If for some chance an
article is all they have, it will get rewritten and probably shortened
have said in many other PR articles and cases, editors do not like
promotion. They like news. They see right through a PR spin to make
promotion news. If you get one past them they remember. After all they
have the control over what goes into the publication.
Establishing as positive a relationship as possible is advantageous
for anyone desiring PR and using the media to tell their story.
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