When I talk to businesses about the huge benefits of having a story appear in the media, some people tell me they simply don't trust journalists.
They're not alone; journalists have frequently featured right at the bottom of the table in surveys about professions that are considered untrustworthy.
As a former journalist, I can appreciate many people are suspicious of our profession because we always seem to be out to find scandal and controversy.
What you might not realise, though, is that there are other things journalists look for - and these can be great for your business! You don’t have to do something scandalous to get into the media.
How does the media find stories?
Basically, there are four ways journalists get their stories.
1. Stuff happens, and they write about it. This can be accidents, natural disasters, scandals, elections, court cases, business collapses – you get the idea.
2. People tell them stuff, and they write about it. This happens through media releases, emails, phone calls, conversations and social media. Hundreds of potential stories are “pitched” to journalists every day; this makes up a huge portion of what appears in the media.
3. They go looking for stuff and write about it. This is where journalists hear interesting snippets on the grapevine and go chasing. It can lead to major investigations and negative stories.
4. They see stuff on other media and copy it. This is very common; if you find yourself featured in one media outlet and your story is interesting enough, you might just get covered in other media as well.
Now, you mightn't be interested in numbers 1 or 3, but number 2 is right up your street! I'll bet you’re sitting on at least one great story the media would love to cover – and if they did, you'd get free promotion that's going to help position you as a leader in your field.
And the funny thing is, even though people say they don’t trust journalists, they give more credibility to stories journalists write than, say, information you write yourself and post on social media or your website. That’s the power of the media.
So don't write off the idea of getting media coverage - it can bring huge benefits for your business, provided you know how to go and get it.