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What the media wants now


It’s fair to say COVID-19 is, rightfully, dominating the press. Account manager Sophie Drake dug deep into the media enquiries coming into #TeamStory and crunched the numbers to find what the media is looking for and whether there is room for other news and content.

While rolling news has had the current crisis as its mainstay for the last six weeks, in speaking to our journalist contacts, it has become increasingly clear that the appetite for ‘other’ news is growing.

Over the last week, we’ve collated and analysed the media enquiries fielded by the team. Here’s what we found.

The numbers

Of 100 media queries Story received last week – two thirds were COVID-19 related. The remaining third, and a chunky enough stat to pay attention to, were on the hunt for experts, interviews, facts and content unrelated to the pandemic.

The queries can be categorised as follows:

  • 33%  – general business
  • 33% – tech and digital
  • 16% – manufacturing and supply chain
  • 18% – current affairs

Of these, two thirds called for people – experts, specialists and case studies. Good news stories followed in close second, with journalists calling for positive pieces on topics such as women in construction, SME growth and fintech innovation.

What does this mean for your comms

Lead with expertise

As Story MD Amanda Lowe explains in her blog on the subject, the authority of experts is needed now more than ever. From finTech to FMCG, directors to developers –  our findings show that journalists are looking for insight to support a range of sectors. What can you add to current conversations, and how might you start a new one?

Listen to the call for good news

Look no further than the overwhelming support for Captain Tom Moore, who raised £27m for the NHS by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday – or D-Day veteran Ken Benbow, whose emotional filmed reaction to receiving a cushion with the photo of his late wife of 70 years from his carer lit up Twitter and news sites alike earlier this week. We, and the media, want human stories with kindness and resilience at their core.

Don’t just take this from us. David Salt, Content Director at Bauer Media, said: “It’s why outlets have, in some places, even changed tilt a little to focus more in these places – it’s why we’re talking more at night on Greatest Hits Radio, and playing half of the songs we normally would – because people want to hear those stories, and they want to hear the experts share with them advice and info that can really benefit them.

“We wouldn’t do that normally – it’s a music station. It’s also why additional government funding is being made available in certain instances to help do more of this, such as us and the Audio Content Fund. Since the dawn of time, round the camp fire, – it’s only ever been about telling good STORIES!”

Mind your tone

The context of the current climate should be front of mind as you shape your content. Now is not the time for ‘salesy’ marketing. Your content should, as always, be relevant and interesting for your audience – be that business, sectoral or broader. Don’t be scared to talk about business as usual but do have the bigger picture in sight and be sensitive to it.

While the media is dominated by the pandemic, journalists are keen to serve their audiences well and give them ‘other’ news. COVID developments may be in regular revolve, but the media needs a range of more positive stories, or at least ‘business as usual’ pieces to provide respite from the constancy of COVID.

To find out more about hitting the media in the current health crisis, contact us at hello@wearestorycomms.com


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