So you think you have a story idea?

Someone in your department has done something special, or an event has been planned that you want the media to cover.  That brings up the first question in seeking media coverage: Where and how do you start?

Let me get the bad news out of the way first.  Not everything will get the attention of the media, no matter how hard you try! The first question you need to answer is,  who will be interested in the information? If what you are doing is for the campus only, the media won’t help.

Do you want a story, or do you just want to let folks know that a special event is coming up and the community is invited? That’s a calendar or an event listing, and usually easier to get media placement.

University Relations can help you connect with the media, but you can help us do the best job. Sometimes, we’ll get a request to do a story on something or someone, and barely one sentence of information is provided. The press release that is eventually sent to the media must have a hook to catch their attention, and you need to attract the attention in the first few lines.  Some media experts say the decision to use or not to use a release is made in less than ten seconds. You need to be able to tell why something is important, and do it quickly. In other words, you have to “WOW” them.

Before you request press coverage, besides supplying the who, what, where, when, and how, take a close look and ask, “ why should folks care?” (by the way, tell us that in terms we can understand).  If you can honestly answer that question, you’re on your way to getting media coverage.

Mel Serow