Arts organisations located outside of London struggle to get their fair share of national press even before the news industry entered crisis mode. Now the latest round of belt tightening has seen travel budgets slashed and editorial cuts across the board. Don’t despair, says seasoned arts PR Catharine Braithwaite. With the right approach and some good planning, culture in the regions can still make the national pages.
Your contacts receive hundreds of emails a day, many of them untargeted and this quickly becomes irritating. Many arts correspondents divert the worst offenders’ mail straight to their junk folder! So make sure you get the stories you really want seen by only sending them to the people you know will be genuinely interested. Also note how a journalist likes to be contacted; phoning can often be a better option. Be brave and don’t take things too
personally – if a contact sounds ratty it may simply be that they are on deadline.
Reject the scattergun approach
Pitch one idea to a few knowing this is a topic they will want to cover. The reality is that if you are not one of the large national arts organisations, you are unlikely to get blanket coverage – but that’s also okay. A well placed story with one national correspondent is just as good, and they might be more likely to cover if you can give them an exclusive.