Resolve to Use More Multimedia In Your Media Relations
It’s tougher than ever to score a great news story in today’s climate. You are competing for space in a nationally-dominated media cycle during a pandemic while newspapers are cutting staff in an effort to survive.
But it’s not impossible to pitch a great news story, even in this climate. To stand out, you need to have a great story that is compelling and newsworthy, and you need to make it easy for reporters to see “how” they can show your story. Multimedia engagement is the way to do that and here’s tips to help:
Offer a Zoom or Skype interview. Television crews are not getting out as often as they used to, so make it easy for them to connect by offering a virtual interview.
Send photos with your pitch or news release. Select a handful of photos (only the best ones that illustrate something about the story) to send out. Remember that images should be high-resolution so they can be broadcast or used in print. Do not send images as attachments with an emailed story pitch as spam blockers may nuke your great idea.
Add sound or video files. Record one or two sound bytes with people who are key to the story and reference them in your pitch. Add these clips to your multimedia news package.
Call out numbers. Reference key statistics or trends in your images and sound bytes if you can.
Keep your files organized. Write captions for the photos and clips. Label the file names to match up with the captions (e.g. Photo 1: Caption XYZ) so it’s not easy to confuse them. Set up a distribution folder using Google Drive, Dropbox, Files Anywhere or another service so you can easily share images and video with reporters.
Amplify your multimedia game on your social media. This can be tough when you have limited resources, but do what you can to bump up your use of photos and video on your social media. Creating a multimedia package for your story pitch gives you more assets to share.
Organize a virtual panel or Facebook Live. Give people an insider’s look at your work. Talk about issues in addiction, recovery and homelessness. Bring together key people in your community. Ask a local journalist to emcee the panel and invite journalists to attend. Record the panel using Zoom or another platform and share the video.
Note: The author writes a column every other month for Instigate magazine, which is published by an association called Citygate, which aids and empowers religious nonprofits assisting people dealing with homelessness and addiction. The tips she offers in this piece written for the January/February 2021 issue are helpful for other nonprofits too.
Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, an independent PR practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media engagement, writing services, and creative design for publications and websites (contact to discuss your project, review our portfolio, sign up for our e-newsletter). She blogs about media relations, social media, public relations, and work-family balance. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven