Is your company’s PR firm or media relations department getting results or are they just what I call issuing press releases to all the local media outlets hoping to get something done? It’s time to find out. First, ask to see the last five press releases sent to the media on behalf of your company. Next, ask your public relations or media relations staff to specifically show you the resulting media coverage. What did you get? Did any of your local TV stations do a story about it? You know they didn’t because you would have been the person interviewed and as far as you can remember you haven’t looked at a camera in years, if ever! What about your local radio stations? Did any of them call you on the phone for an interview? I bet not. Newspaper? No. No phone call. So let me guess the end result of your PR effort. No TV, no radio, and maybe, just maybe, on page three of the newspaper’s business section was a two-inch blurb that basically regurgitated the first two paragraphs of your press release.

Why didn’t you get media coverage? Experience tells me it’s because their press release failed to address the most important question the media, viewers, and listeners ask: “Why do I care? What’s in it for me? How does it affect me?” Even though you wade through hundreds of press releases in hopes of reaching thousands of people, we sometimes forget that it always comes down to an audience of one: the guy in the living room chair watching TV, listening to the radio, or reading the newspaper. . He’s the guy you have to talk to! His goal, through his press release, is to convince the media that the guy in the living room chair cares about what his press release is promoting. Give the media a reason to come forward. What is unique, unusual, or interesting about your new product, service, innovation, or charity event? I once saw some interesting research indicating that many people are in their armchairs reading the newspaper while the local television news is on. As they read, they half listen to what’s on TV. Your goal is to write a press release that results in a story so interesting, so compelling that it makes the guy in the armchair look over his newspaper to see what’s going on and see your story. When writing a press release, always keep one’s audience in mind. The guy in the chair.