Why didn't I get coverage?
A question that many businesses ask is 'Why didn’t I get coverage?' Indeed, PR is not an exact science, meaning that sending a press release or approaching a journalist or blogger on social media doesn’t guarantee you coverage. However, the more refined your pitch is, the better your chance of success. The first thing to do is to identify what didn’t work to improve your next PR campaign and multiply your chances. So here are 9 potential reasons:
Main reasons why you didn’t get coverage
1- Your story was not newsworthy enough
When approaching a journalist or an influencer, it’s important to have a story that is newsworthy. If not, they won’t be interested in publishing a blog or an article about it as they think in priority to their readers. Remember that their job is not to promote your brand, their job is to provide interesting, useful or even entertaining content to their audience.
Our tip: Think about what your story is and put yourself in someone else's shoes. Would you find it interesting? Sometimes, you just need to transform your story a little bit to make it more newsworthy. For instance, link it to something that is going on in the news. It can be an important conference in your industry, a new law, a crisis or even Brexit. This will empower your press release.
2- You didn’t target the right audience
Targeting the right audience is one of the keys to getting coverage. If you have just sent your press release to every journalist or blogger on your contact list without any consideration for what they are usually writing about, you have almost no chance to catch their attention. To make it simple, a fashion blogger is not going to write about your new food concept.
Our tip: Spend time researching the publications you want to reach to find the journalists or bloggers you need to send your story to. It can take time to create a list but once it’s done, you can contact them directly each time you’ve got a story.
Another solution is to use an online PR tool that will match your press releases to the relevant influencers according to one or several industry sectors. Fell free to read our blog listing the best PR tools for small businesses.
3- Your message was too promotional
One mistake that many businesses make is to send a marketing pitch to the journalists or bloggers they want to reach. Either on social media or through a press release, sending a full description of your product, including the pricing plan won’t interest the reader. As I said before, they want a story that is factual, topical and that can be useful for their audience.
Our tip: Journalists particularly dislike promotional press releases. Try to tell a story that is factual and that will help you to introduce your company. Also, you can add a section ‘notes to editor’ in your press release including details about your business.
4- You didn’t give any contact details
Providing contact details is essential if you want your story to get covered. Through social media, you should always give at least an email address and in a press release, you can also add a phone number with the person to contact, as lots of journalists prefer that. This way, they can contact you directly to ask for more details. If they can’t do that quickly, they will just move on to the next email.
Our tip: Include the email and phone number of the person to contact in your press release or on social. It is also useful to let the journalist know the best times to contact you.
5- You didn’t include high-res pictures
Just like contact details, a press release should always include one or several high-res pictures that journalists or bloggers can use. Think about it, it’s rare to see one article or blog without an image. By providing the image, you simplify the process for them.
Our tip: If your story is neither about a product or an event, it can be difficult to think about a good picture to provide. In this case, you can include a photo of the founder(s) of your business for example or an image that will illustrate your story.
6- Wrong timing
We have noticed in the past that some of our businesses send their press releases Sunday night at 11pm. You can probably easily imagine where the problem is. No journalist or influencer will want to write a piece on Sunday night, at 11pm. Timing is important if you want to get coverage. You need to think about what time and day is best for your target.
Our tip: Read our blog on when to send a press release to get ideas to plan your PR efforts.
Other reasons that could have had an influence
7- You haven’t developed any relationship with the journalists or influencer you’re targeting
A less obvious reason could be that you have been overtaken by another business with a similar story because this business is already in contact with the journalist or influencer. The reality is, to increase your chance, there is nothing better than starting and nurturing relationships with the people you’re trying to reach. Once they know you, they are more likely to publish your stories or even to come to you if they need a comment or a quote.
Our tip: Regularly read their articles and comment on them each time you’ve got the opportunity. You can also follow them on social media and show your interest by liking, sharing and commenting on their articles.
8- You got unlucky with the timing
Sometimes, your PR efforts can go unnoticed because something relatively big happened in the news. So if you haven’t got coverage in the past, even if you feel that you had respected all of the above points, maybe the reason is in the news.
Our tip: Even if the news is unpredictable, pay close attention to it because you could avoid this situation. If you have planned to send a press release on a specific day but something important happens on the same day, postpone it.
There are many different reasons why you could not get coverage but by following the tips above, you should increase your chance. Remember that PR is all about the right targets, the right messages and the right timing. Sounds similar to other marketing channels, doesn’t it?
The rest of public relations is developing relationships with your different audiences: Journalists and influencers, your stakeholders, and your customers of course.
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Written by: Julie Cocquerelle, Marketing Executive
Julie has a degree in Marketing and PR, and has worked in marketing for a number of startup businesses, both in France and the UK. She now runs JournoLink’s marketing efforts, and works closely with our partners. When not in the office Julie enjoys travelling and soaking up European culture.