If there is one thing a journalist loves, it’s a big, juicy exclusive. It means no one else will be running the same story and readers will need to go to their publication to get all of the information.

However, by offering a journalist an exclusive you are putting all of your eggs in one basket. This means you might be missing out on other opportunities to gain exposure for your story. It’s important to weigh up whether an exclusive will offer you the best results possible.

The argument against exclusives:

  • Journalists don’t make any promises. They may do their best to include your story but if a hotter news piece becomes available or their editor decides to bump you from their pages, it could result in losing the opportunity to get any coverage at all. Do you really want to put all your eggs in one basket?
  • An exclusive might give you a nice big story in a publication of your choice but is this necessarily any more effective than a number of stories in a variety of publications? This way, if your story doesn’t get a run in one, you still have the opportunity to be seen everywhere else you pitched your idea.
  • Do exclusives even exist anymore? In the age of social media, anyone can break news and share stories online before a journalist has even had the chance to ask who, what, where, when, how? How often have you read a tweet, or a Facebook page update before hearing about a story on the news?

The argument for exclusives:

  • Exclusives are a clever way of building a relationship with a specific journalist. PR is all about relationships and by offering an exclusive and following through on that promise to give the story to only one publication, you can build up a good rapport with a journalist that will definitely help you with future pitches.
  • You might get a better deal by offering an exclusive. If a journalist can convince the editor that no other magazine or website will be running this story, there is always the chance that you’ll land the prime position within the publication. Maybe you’ll be given a full page spread, rather than a small column towards the back.
  • It’s not terribly common, but you will find some editors who only want a story if it is an exclusive. By choosing one publication that you really want to get in to and offering the story to them alone, your story may get picked up by that one editor as opposed to three editors saying ‘no thanks’ if you’ve pitched it somewhere else.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to exclusives, it’s up to you and should be judged on a case by case basis. As long as you know all the pros and cons, you’re set to make the best decision for your business.

 

Catriona Pollard
BY Catriona Pollard ON 17 April 2012
Director, CP Communications, which provides specialist PR and social media strategies that achieve positive media coverage, increased brand awareness and improved sales results.