Capturing National Attention: Strategies for Securing Nationwide Media Coverage
Written by Ali Negus
Being featured in newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV are all great opportunities to build, establish, and elevate one’s brand awareness.
But when you consider how many companies and individuals are pushing for coverage, it begs the question of what’s the trick to capturing the attention of the national media? Securing attention on this scale demands a different approach compared to smaller, vertical outlets. While these publications delve into industry-specific topics, national media requires a unique approach to pique their interest to ensure it will be relevant for a broader audience.
A Vertical vs Horizontal Approach
Vertical publications serve as a platform for in-depth discussions, covering a wide array of topics within a specific industry. For instance, tech-focused publications dive into the intricate details of technological advancements and innovations, catering to the interests of tech companies and individuals. These platforms thrive on comprehensive analysis and commentary, offering a deeper understanding of industry-specific subjects.
However, when aiming to capture the attention of national media, there are significant changes. Merely presenting a detailed analysis or an industry-focused narrative will not suffice because the average reader of a national newspaper will not have as deep of an interest in a specific topic. Because of this, national journalists demand stories that resonate with their vast and diverse audience and a narrative that evokes excitement and relevance on a broader scale. The key lies in crafting a storyline that not only captures attention but also addresses how it impacts the everyday lives of the general people and consumers.
Offer expertise for emerging stories
National publications seek stories that are not only compelling but also have the potential to create a buzz, this can even be a story which hasn’t been picked up nationally yet. This is why being in tune with trending topics within the national media sphere is crucial. The more dramatic and exaggerated the story, the more chance there is of a national journalist being interested. It is also crucial to keep in mind that for journalists, timing is everything—swiftly recognizing and capitalising on emerging stories by tailoring pitches to match the urgency and relevance of the news cycle is paramount
Knowing your (national) audience
The art of pitching to the national media involves understanding their audience’s interests and delivering content that aligns with their needs. Going into it with the mindset of ‘just pitching a national story’ is not enough. Channel 5 News has a very different audience to BBC 10 o’clock news, which has a very different audience to Channel 4 News at 7pm. 5 News’ audience is predominantly female, a large chunk is in the north of England and their audience loves a good showbiz story. The impact of knowing this about a publication should not be underplayed; it’s imperative that PR professionals know the audience of which publication their pitching and tailor it to create ‘buzz’ around what each audience is interested in
To summarise, securing coverage in national media outlets demands more than just industry-specific knowledge or a detailed analysis. It requires a nuanced understanding of national publications, how they operate, and who they write their stories for. Ultimately, it’s about connecting with a broader audience, whilst offering stories that intrigue, engage, and resonate beyond industry specifics.