Any busy communications professional will agree that securing media interest, and coverage in faculty research is often a time-consuming project. It can be tempting to scan the synopsis, draft a quick email and send it to a number of journalists, but this rarely sparks any good traction.
Developing familiarity with the research you’re pitching is key to attracting the right attention. At the very worst, it is possible to misrepresent the point of the paper and receive a number of correction emails from journalists who know the topic inside out – or even from your professor – damaging your reputation. The best is that, although they are unimpressed with the pitch, the research’s merit prevails and the journalist’s interest is sparked.
Yet if you are able to explain and angle the research well, devise a clear angle for your pitch, and share this with well-researched and appropriate media outlets (complete with a compelling email header), you stand a better chance of securing a fantastic piece of press coverage for your professor, enabling them to demonstrate their expertise and, most importantly, represent the school in a positive manner, to your target audience. There’s also the added bonus of strengthening your relationship with the journalist or editor who has commissioned the article, and who realises that you are, indeed, a fantastic PR.
Imagine you are a management journalist writing your latest article when you receive five emails (probably within the space of 20 seconds). All five of these are research, and all five are focused on why more women should be in the boardroom. Interestingly, the article you’re already writing is on this too.
You’re highlighting these, about to delete all in one go, but then you spot the subject line of one of the emails. What’s this? A new angle on getting women into the boardroom? The journalist is far more likely to respond to your pitch if you’ve taken the time to clearly and succinctly set out the focus, the findings and the wider implications of your professor’s study.
Familiarity with the research, and an understanding of its USP, is crucial for getting great results…