Media Relations

Try to Zag When Everyone Else Zigs

zig zag

Media have a mob mentality. When big news hits, everyone heads in one direction. While this is effective, sometimes, it is just as effective to head the other way. Read this article to know when to do this.

by Louise Harris

Media tend to follow the leader, especially when a big story hits. For example, if a politician is found corrupt, every news organization goes to cover that story. Unfortunately, this mob mentality often has a negative effect. For the first few days, people want to absorb all they can about the story. However, after the initial push, people get bored and turn away from television, radio, newspaper or computer. They are actively searching a different news story. If you are smart, you can capture the attention of news personnel who are trying to find something new. This is why you want to zag when everyone else zigs.

  1. Steer Clear – While you might want to join the bandwagon, it is actually better to steer clear. If a natural disaster hits, you might want to issue a press release saying how you are helping with cleanup or the people who are harmed. That is a good goal and would work if you are one of the first companies to issue that press release. However, you more than likely will be just one of many with a similar message. Therefore, you aren’t likely to get any attention for that story. Instead, just avoid the topic. You won’t harm your reputation or your relationship with journalists if you don’t jump on the bandwagon. You would show that you recognize when to send a press release and when not to send one.
  2. Find a Breakthrough – When journalists are suffering from mob mentality, they are writing everything they can. However, when they begin to see a drop in readership or listening audience, they begin to look for something completely different. This is a good time to write a release about a major scientific breakthrough or medical procedure that is new. In fact, you might even send your new product release. The journalists are looking for something that would capture the attention of their audience again. These are good ways to break the mold and be the first to report something along these lines. You just have to supply the idea.
  3. Give New Angle – During a big story, journalists are looking for a different angle to cover. If the natural disaster has been covered, you might be able to present an idea that hasn’t been covered. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, one of stories that was reported was new technology by the Navy and National Aeronautics and Space Administration that treated water through a mobile unit. This technology allowed so many people to have clean water even though so many treatment plants were flooded with disgusting water. This technology presented a new angle that hadn’t been covered, which was how people were getting clean water. If you have something that hasn’t been reported, you could issue a press release that gives journalists new angles.
  4. Focus on Human Interest – Often during a big story, the reporting on people is forgotten. Everyday heroes will draw people’s attention. If you could find a way to bring out the human interest story within the big news, you will have more attention. However, you don’t want to write a release about Mr. Green who went out of his way to help because journalists will find those people. Your human interest has to be something different. You also want it to relate to your industry without sounding like you are bragging. Journalists like to report human interest stories when big news hits.


You can zag when everyone else zigs with your press release if you have the right expert working for you. The release must reach those journalists looking for something different or your efforts in writing it well would be pointless. You must deliver your press releases to the right journalists who may be interested in your story. To help you target the right journalists for your situation, you should take a look at Faselis Growth and Faselis Professional solutions packages for distributing your press releases. You will have the latest contact information of the journalist.

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