The UK has a vast media landscape
With a population of over 66 million, and over 100 daily and 450 non-daily newspapers, the UK is a nation of avid media consumers. Dating back to the 1620’s, the UK press has extensive history, and continues to be one of the most respected, diverse, and widely read national press across the globe.
Indeed, the variety of media outlets and publications reflect the huge variety of political and social opinion in the UK. Local and regional press is widely read in the UK, as well as the powerful London-based national press, with the leading UK papers' being some of the best-selling newspapers in the world.
There is a sharp distinction between the quality and tabloid national press in the UK, and between the organisations that govern the media. Tabloid papers focus more on celebrity issues and tend to sensationalise, whereas broadsheets tend to be more informative, covering educational, political, and international news.
However, the way we consume our media has changed dramatically, and although the longstanding popularity of the print media in the UK continues, digitalisation has transformed the media landscape, with 64% of adults in the UK, and a huge 82% of 18-24 year olds using the internet as their ‘go-to’ news platform of choice, according to the latest news consumption report from Ofcom.
With so many publications, platforms, and journalists, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start when trying to work with the media in the UK. But it doesn’t have to be such an impossible task…
Our PR tips for working with the media in the UK
Get to the point
It’s 2019, and in the UK today, news stories are sent straight to our smart phones the moment they occur through an extensive network of online media platforms. Journalism is competitive, fast paced, and extremely time-sensitive. It is therefore essential that journalists produce stories as quickly as possible, and have the resources to do so. With that in mind, when sending pitches to journalists in the UK, they should be short and precise, and PRs and communications teams should keep the information they’re sending as relevant and as up-to-date as possible.
Offer relevant content
For journalists in the UK, one of their main ‘bugbears’ is when PRs do not do their research prior to contacting them. It pays to do your homework, and in order to build relationships with journalists, it is important to read their articles, have a look at the publications they write for, and understand their main topics and themes they focus on before you reach out. Inviting a journalist who writes about fashion and is based in Scotland to your exciting tech event in London is never going to go down well. Offering a thoughtful opinion on their work when pitching is a great idea, and will add a memorable, personal touch.
Facts are facts
Data journalism has changed the media landscape in the UK. Although comment from an academic will still effectively support an article, a journalist’s work will be strengthened even further when it is supported by solid facts and figures. Indeed, providing data not only helps the journalist, but it will also demonstrate your own credibility.
Don’t click send and forget
As mentioned before, journalists in the UK are very busy people. You may send a pitch or contact a journalist and hear no reply. However, do not be disheartened, and certainly do not forget about it and move on. Classy persistence is key; a well-structured, informative follow up email can be a gentle reminder if your email has slipped through the net. On some occasions, journalists may have even saved the information you have sent them for a later date when it is more suitable for them.
You may want to impress journalists with your academic vocabulary and technical terms, however, journalists in the UK just want to understand your key points explained as clearly as possible. Avoid jargon and say what acronyms stand for; the more concise the better; it will save a lot of time for both you and the journalist.
Working effectively with the media in the UK doesn’t have to be difficult. Following these useful tips on how to build relationships with journalists and target key media in the UK can benefit you significantly in the long term.
Author: Olivia Nieberg