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Introducing 15 Key Facts to Help You Understand the Media and Gain Editorial Coverage including Three Errors You Must Avoid

1. What is Editorial?

Editorial is text that is selected to appear by a publication’s editor because they see it as relevant and of interest to their readership. It is not paid for space.

“As a result of Liza’s press campaign, we have seen in excess of £60 millions’ worth of enquiries.” Derek Ednie, Director, Holloway White Allom (specialist construction)
  Image: Fire Sprinkler
Fire sprinkler
- Abucon clients come from many sectors (Abucon for photography)
2. What do Editors want?

Editors like something that is new, different and eye-catching. They also want something that is relevant to their particular readership. In general consumer press, the subject matter may often have a broad target audience, while in specialist publications, whether consumer or trade and technical, the copy will usually focus on the needs and interests of a limited, discrete group of readers. If a consumer story tries to appeal to too broad a spectrum, the message to be conveyed may not be sufficiently specific or powerful to merit inclusion by the editor.

3. Don't hit everyone

The temptation might be to send your news stories to any and everyone who might potentially be interested, but this will be counter-productive.

Unless you genuinely have a major story of universal appeal, blanket despatch of news releases to a large number of publications will produce a very poor response. And you are likely to gain a reputation for sending irrelevant releases, so when you really do have something relevant to say, you could well be overlooked.

“It’s nice, as a journalist, to see some sense written about what will catch our eyes
Alun Hill,
Chartered Institute of Journalists

The Three Aitches - Homework, Hooks and Headlines

4. Homework

First do your homework. Who do you want to reach with editorial? What publications do they read?

Then obtain copies of these publications and read a selection of their articles. What is their house style? What is their layout? What topics do they cover? Is text punchy, immediate, with short sentences? Or more detailed, with a greater depth of content, possibly of a technical or semi-technical nature?

  Image: Strawberry pack house
Strawberry pack house
- Abucon has clients in diverse industries (Abucon for photography)

What is the profile of the readership? Their ages, socio-economic groups and other characteristics?

How frequently are your target journals published? And what is their format? Are they printed or are they web based? Are they bought in newsagents, or subscription based, coming in the post? Or are they trade publications that may be on a ‘controlled circulation’ basis – that is, they are sent free to qualifying readers?

The more you know about the publications you are targeting, the better you can match the needs of their editors. This knowledge will also help you determine whether your story really is likely to be of interest to individual journals.

5. 'Hooks'

‘Hooks’ are aspects of a story that will generate interest and draw attention to your story. What is different? What can you highlight? How can you get journalists to take notice? Why is your story really newsworthy?

6. Headlines

The headline to your new release needs to grab the journalist’s attention immediately, so that it stands out from the crowd of releases they receive every day. But it needs to be factual. Don’t try to write a newspaper style headline like the classic “Freddie Starr ate my Hamster”. Leave that to the professionals.

These are just the first half dozen key facts on editorial.
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