Seven Tips for Securing Coverage in Continental European Media
Localize your story – many journalists love comparisons between the major EU member states. But specialist beat reporters in areas like derivatives, private equity or debt capital markets are often thirsting to write broader European market stories just as the FT does – they just think the FT gets too many of the exclusives.
Most financial correspondents across Europe can, and will, do interviews in English if the story is important. A translated press release often helps, though less vital in northern/central Europe. But languages (we speak a few at Cognito) are critical for reading publications to understand who to target with what story. Journalists respond to your engagement and interest. Some publications identify reporters by initials only, so make sure you know the newspaper’s “Impressum” directory. Don’t assume you can check quotes, but if language or terminology has been tricky in an interview (especially on the phone), then offer to help to ensure accuracy
Pitching by Twitter direct messaging can be a good alternative to overflowing email boxes. LinkedIn is often less popular for continental journalists. Phone pitching is fine if you are offering something important and well defined – like a CEO interview – but EU journalists are as time- poor as any others.
Most countries have less specialized financial trade media than London, and have many national “players” to cover, whether banks, asset managers or central bank governors. Don’t pitch everything in an unthinking, carpet-bombing approach – it will just put off journalists.
If you have a credible spokesperson visiting a country, then it’s often best to go and see key media in their offices. But remember, in some countries (Germany, Italy), not all of the major media (or B2B trades) are in one place. London or New York correspondents can be a way to make your story work, but this is easier where there is two- man bureau with both a political and economics/business reporter (Handelsblatt has three, including one for finance and one for companies). Single- handed foreign correspondents generally have too much broader news to cover many detailed financial stories.
Most major finance titles have correspondents in the EU press corps, with many of the financial regulatory stories filed from Brussels. While these journalists are by definition internationally minded, you need a very clear EU angle to catch their attention. They need to know your views on regulatory issues; how something affects you or your clients. If you go to see them in Brussels, tell them what you’re lobbying on and who else you are going to see in Brussels.