I had a conversation with the editor of one of the top independent channel news websites earlier this week. We had a lot of catching up to do. Having followed similar careers paths, this individual has ended up editing a channel website while I am now working largely on what is sometimes called ‘the dark side’. Even so, we share a lot of views and have a genuine desire to help each other.
During our discussion, the editor made two points that really stood out for me and reaffirmed my own view of how channel-facing businesses need to approach trade media today. First, that press releases should be written and delivered in a form that makes it as easy as possible to publish. Ideally, it should be a simple ‘cut-and-paste” job. The more news value and the less corporate fluff, the better.
Most channel sites have an editorial team of only two or three. They don’t have time to chase down and research many stories. It’s far better for them if a story arrives more or less ready to run. That means it has to be written like a news story.
Secondly, when we were discussing an upcoming plan for a regular item that the website is planning to launch later this year, it was noted that – again, due to the lack of writers and/or freelance budgets – they do not have time to research and write longer, more in-depth articles. This is why the format of these planned pieces will be fairly straight-forward. Indeed, on most channel sites now, the ‘features’ content mostly consists of short video interviews and relatively short, Q&A type written pieces.
Channel companies looking to get coverage in the trade media need to remember that editors and journalists are right up against it in terms of their time and resources. The easier you can make their life, the better.