how to make journalists our allies across the EU
Beáta Pál Christodoulou
Action Public Sector
There is no ‘silver bullet’ when it comes to managing multi-market media relations in the public sector. But over the past few years, our team of diverse international experts at Action Public Sector, part of the wider Action Global Communications network, has gained valuable insight into what makes journalists tick, the European trends the media love to cover, and the opinions that matter the most.
Let’s delve into some of the most valuable insights that help us cultivate meaningful and fruitful media relations across the EU!
Prioritise relevant newsworthy content
Media look out for credible, newsworthy information from trusted public relations professionals. Journalists are under increasing pressure to think about if and how the content they produce will have an impact, attract audiences, and drive engagement. Our role is to support media with relevant content that will resonate with their target audiences. But beyond the subject matter and key messages, it is crucial to consider and respect that journalists work with tight deadlines and have their own set of rules to follow. Headlines and intros are key when approaching editors as they hardly have more than a minute to judge whether the pitched material is worth considering for publication. Supporting the media means working with them to ensure that they have carefully curated content at hand that can be published easily and in accordance with their schedule.
Make connections with local publicists
The EU is a massive patchwork of cultures and attitudes. And it goes without saying that each country deals with EU news differently. The advice of local publicists in respective countries is therefore crucial. For example, in our experience, Greek media usually embrace news about EU topics, especially topics highlighting positive messages on new investment programmes or innovation. We have seen the Greeks, and similarly the Italians, take pride in their fellow citizens or companies receiving EU awards. This was exemplified by their enthusiasm about the 2021 winners of the Enterprise Europe Network Award, as well as the 2022 winners of the European Vocational Skills Excellence Award, with the news published in almost all local media.
Local angle, real impact
Journalists will not cover an EU press release as it comes out of Brussels, just for the sake of it. A local angle is always a crucial focal point, as is the impact of a specific project in a respective country, especially on local citizens. To this end, Action Public Sector ran a series of success stories this year, presenting ‘heroes’ in various professions from different regions across Europe, whose life has changed thanks to vocational education. Simply stating that the EU or one of its institutions is running a project, is not going to receive much coverage. We believe in asking effective questions and supporting information with prime examples. This means finding interviewees who become the ‘hero’ of the story, and highlighting the impact that a given project has had on the community through their personal journey, which becomes a relatable experience for readers.
Shed light on the latest research
The media are keen on presenting the latest and most inspiring research and innovation across Europe, especially research that is relevant to the local scientific and business community in their respective country. This includes new technological trends and recent medical discoveries that could benefit citizens in the long run. We ensure that our continually expanding robust network of science, technology and health editors and journalists across member states are regularly inspired by the specialized articles of Horizon, the EU’s Research and Innovation magazine, shared on a regular basis by Action’s Public Sector team.
Remember that exclusive opinions matter
Opinion editorials, written by high-ranking EU figures, like Commissioners, or exclusive interviews with significant names in the hierarchy, are always popular and published by editors. Their words have weight and impact on policies, and consequently, on the everyday life of citizens. Op-eds or interviews focusing on the green transition and energy are especially popular, resonating with the EU’s Green Deal and the crisis that the EU presently faces. This type of material requires careful adaptation into local languages, and it is imperative not to translate any piece of content directly word-for-word. Our team is vigilant about making sense of every single phrase in the local language so that all messages are communicated clearly.
At Action Public Sector we are dedicated to forging meaningful connections with global editors and journalists, while helping public entities and international organisations create and deliver powerful communications campaigns that facilitate positive change. Drawing upon a legacy spanning over 50 years, Action Public Sector is experienced in running locally relevant, culturally-aware communications and digital campaigns with local teams across Europe, the Eastern Neighbourhood, North Africa and the Middle East.
Empowered by specialist knowledge of industries and practices, as well as local market insights from over 200+ multilingual communications professionals, we are experts at coordinating multiple markets via one point of contact for our clients, managing communications campaigns seamlessly across the EU and third countries for governments and international institutions, including the European Commission. With additional campaign experience in the USA, Canada, South America, Asia, and Africa, we offer a global footprint in communication services, enabling public entities and organisations to foster strong relationships between stakeholders, inform and inspire audiences, accelerate change and drive impact.
We’d love to tell you more about Action Public Sector and our 360° communications solutions. Simply reach out to [email protected] and let’s have a chat.