What do you do when you have a good story but you just can’t break through editorial policy?
From my own personal experience this can be exhausting and frustrating and I find myself asking; what exactly is editorial policy? Is it political allegiance or simply an agreed plan of editorial content following a Monday morning de-brief?
True story about editorial policy
The media has a duty to report current and topical news; it is after all why we consult them. However on a more local and regional level, and more specifically within sector trade press, surely the remit is to provide engaging and newsworthy content that is specific to their audience? Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.
surely the remit is to provide engaging and newsworthy content that is specific to their audience? Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.
I had a story about a very successful entrepreneur and owner of a law firm who had broken free from the institutionalised image and actions of the sector. The story was very powerful, not only is the MD a woman, the direction in which the company has gone is truly innovative, so much so the government are consulting them on employment law policy.
This may mean nothing to you but actually the very fact this company lobbied for change and now has a hand in that change, which in turn helps businesses avoid costly employment mistakes, is ground breaking; especially within a sector that likes to shroud its knowledge in mystery.
The angles were endless; from saving UK business millions in fines to changing the face of a sector, the headlines were there for the taking. However there was a problem, my entrepreneur is female, is young and regardless of her success will never make it on to the pages of hard hitting pinstripe news because of this. Instead policy is to report on yet another middle aged male company director doing yet another deal that in all honesty has no interest or relevance to a large percentage of their readership. I can confidently say this because I am part of that percentage and am constantly disappointed with the lack of representation women in business have.
However there was a problem, my entrepreneur is female, is young and regardless of her success will never make it on to the pages of hard hitting pinstripe news because of this
Can we assume male editors are not interested in female business owners? Possibly, but that’s a whole different debate. As a PR professional you know you have to be flexible, creative and quick thinking. So regardless of what you know and think, you can never second guess the agendas of the media. Even more certain is no matter how you present your news it will never be reported if it doesn’t ‘fit’.
So what do you do when you are faced with this situation? Ditch a perfectly good story that you know people would be interested in? No way, remember PR doesn’t just mean media relations. PR is about communicating to your audiences. Here are my top tips for by-passing the gate keepers.
How to break through the editorial gate keepers
- Use the power of social media. Whether this is a blog, Twitter even Facebook. These are public platforms where you are the editor. Use them wisely and align your business or service with the people who would be interested in your thoughts.
- Communicate directly to your customers. They are your best advocates and your secret sales team. Keep them informed through conversation, events and digital content.
- Become an expert and share your knowledge and skills through expert columns and comment. There are many credible online magazines and newspapers crying out for quality content, talk to these people and provide them with the content they need.
Embracing alternative forms of communication that you can control will not only provide you with measurable results but present you to a wider audience. Remember the golden rule though – do not sell! Public relations is about relationships, understanding and sometimes empathy.
Founder and owner of Chew PR, Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section. Wakefield. England.
Featured image: credit