WHY WOULD A NATIONAL JOURNALIST WRITE ABOUT YOU?

Fiona Scott
5 min readMay 2, 2021
WHY WOULD A NATIONAL JOURNALIST WRITE ABOUT ME OR YOU? PICTURE BY BARBARA LEATHAM

I often get told by business owners who want PR (well the media relations bit of PR any way) that they only want national press. They will often say ‘my product or service is national, my brand is national, so I’m not interested in local or regional’.

Today if I get that vibe or if I explain why that’s a crazy way to think of media relations — and the business owner still doesn’t agree with me I conclude with one of two responses:

  • Excellent, I hope you’ve got a budget to spend of at least £100,000 a month and I can then fulfill your demands. Of course they never have, because a business which spends that kind of money will have its own inhouse marketing & PR team (unless of course they are a bit rubbish and they avoid doing the media bit of PR, which is really common).
  • I’m not the right fit for you. In fact, I’d be wary of any PR company which claims it can consistently guarantee this unless they have personal connections, that they hold considerable influence over, in every newsroom of your preferred publications, programmes or series.

It’s important to understand this in your business, however big or small it is or in your charity or in your back bedroom working as a therapist that the national press is a body of journalists who work to an agenda set by a news editor or producer or commissioning editor. They don’t care about your product or service. They care about stories, and the people who will populate those stories, whether those people can meet their deadlines and often if they are good pictures too.

One of the most overused words I hear from business owners is ‘my product is so exciting’ — everything is exciting. Exciting for you, maybe, but exciting for everyone else? Really? More often it’s you who are excited, maybe a few close friends or your team and that’s it. That is, of course, normal however don’t expect the media to be jumping up and down.

I often get this with authors who will say ‘my new book is coming out soon and it’s so exciting’ and then I remind them that a new book is published every three seconds. It’s a crowded marketplace. Be realistic, there’s no easy route to publicity which you are not paying for, or even if you are paying for a PR specialist like me.

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Fiona Scott

Fiona has been a UK journalist for more than 30 years as well as being a freelance tv producer director. She’s also had her own media consultancy since 2008.