Working with the press

Working with the press helps to tell your story and share your ideas and ethos with the world. It helps raise awareness, build relationships and help to spark conversations with audiences.

Although the diversification (and amount) of media outlets can seem daunting, the good news is that journalists are always hungry for good and relevant content. Here are our top tips for the process we follow for getting our events and projects the profile they deserve.

Planning and research

It’s important to figure out which press will help you reach your target audience, build lists and research key contacts. For Timber festival we have broken this down:

NATIONAL – Travel, Environment & Green Living, Lifestyle, Arts & Music, Families

REGIONAL – Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire (plus broader East and West Midlands areas and key cities such as Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield)

TRADE – Forests, Tourism, Events media

DIGITAL INFLUENCERS – national and regional green lifestyle, environment and family bloggers (many of these can have larger reach and audience engagement than more traditional media)

For each of these segments we plan the messages they need that are relevant to their audiences. We lead on the incredible “green story” of the National Forest for press with audiences interested in environmental issues, the wellbeing and experiential elements of the event for the lifestyle press and the arts and music programming for the arts press.

We also work out timing as to when we want the story to run – so magazines have deadlines 6-4 months in advance, newspapers up to a month and broadcast and digital 2 weeks in advance.

 

Tools and content

If you have an excellent press release (or series of them) with your “story”, high quality images and engaging spokespeople that are available for interview you are well on your way. If you have some video to share, even better.

Many media in their hunt for good content accept opinion pieces, columns and guest blogs too, so be creative and think what you can offer.

Best tips for success

Even those with the best stories in the world will advise it’s hard to predict the level of interest from journalists.  Busy schedules and breaking news mean it’s good to be resilient and keep trying! Once you have worked on a story with a particular journalist, that relationship is invaluable.

Our top tip though is to hone the message. If a journalist can see at a glance the relevance of the story to their audience – i.e. the headline, it will capture their attention.