As many regional publications make cuts to their workforces, editors are increasingly reliant on news agencies and press associations for sourcing their content. However, it is important that every PR company has strategies in place for targeting these channels and maximising the opportunities they offer.
Many PR and social media agencies are aware of press agencies but have little understanding of how they work and how they can be of use. News agencies are essentially organisations that compile content and distribute it via media outlets such as newspapers, magazines and radio. As budgets continue to be squeezed, it is likely that many national and regional publications will become increasingly dependent on agencies such as the Press Association, Reuters and AFP to fill their pages. They can be an extremely useful resource, in that securing one article with a journalist can lead to dozens of syndicated pieces of coverage across a variety of outlets.
Here are some tips for working successfully with news agencies:
• Establish who the best contacts are. The Press Association receives thousands of press releases a day to its generic address so the chances of it getting picked up are very slim. If you can develop a relationship with the most relevant contact for your story, you are half way there.
• Ensure the credibility and accuracy of your content well in advance. The journalist has to be 100% convinced of the sourcing of the story otherwise they will not feel confident in putting their name to it.
• Remember the smaller news agencies, in addition to the Press Association, which may be able to syndicate content to more specific outlets.
• Ensure you contact any international news agencies that may be interested in in your story, this can be a great way of extending reach into new markets without having to individually contact each publication in a different language.
• Don’t forget broadcast agencies. Interviews that are syndicated through TV and radio news agencies can result in priceless media coverage that reaches far and wide.
Victoria Harris is an account director at leading PR, social media and search agency and Punch Communications. For further information please contact Punch on +44 (0)1858 411 600 or go to www.punchcomms.com