You can’t do better than to optimise coverage for your stories in the media relations business. But stories, like it or not, are audience-driven, and key to optimisation is understanding each story’s potential in relation to the relevant media and the voices that make them up. It’s the receptivity factor which governs results. But how do you know its strength? How to play content for maximum cut-through?

Journalists, or content providers if you must, craft stories for their audiences. People in PR have to do the same thing, but of course at one remove. Without direct access to the page, programme or screen they’re at the crossroads of the placement or distribution dilemma.

In our top-down world the big stories go global fast but still demand a level playing field in terms of access. The Netmedia set are brilliant at distribution. Client Fish and Game for example gets its releases to newsdesks all over the country with one click on the pre-built News Express service with MediaPasifika.

Outside of which organisations covering changes in law or regulations which affect people’s lives can pick the chunks of relevant media, prioritise the story to the best available journalist with the target function facility set at, for example, business/chief reporter/newsdesk/editor and then adding producer/bureau chief for the audio-visual sector. Add low-res photographs — enough to spread across the different sectors — with on-call hi-res versions to hand. Job done.

Placement is much more demanding under the ‘optimise’ criterion. Options might include: negotiate an exclusive with a major daily; re-write the story from more than one angle and provide different illustrations across as many outlets as possible; prioritise an important magazine with customised content and schedule release of a shorter version to others to suit its deadlines but widening coverage of core content. Go into the newsrooms and choose who you want, make your own notes about who you find to build your own unique portfolio of media contacts.

Leigh Catley, Horticulture New Zealand communications manager, with a stream of varying needs stories to process says ‘MediaPasifika works for us, it really suits the needs of New Zealand communicators.’

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