Put on your party hat, chest bump and high five your collaborators. Your paper was accepted for publication!
It’s taken months, potentially years to conduct and distill your research into the perfect paper (if such a thing exists).
Once the relief wears off, and you’ve finished a few celebratory drinks, you can relax, right?
Not quite. . . You still have work to do.
Now is the time to make sure all your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Writing a media release is one of the most effective ways to boost the impact of your research.\
Everyday, science writers and journalists mine through media releases to spot relevant, timely research that’ll get their readers excited about science. They’ll scroll through hundreds of media releases a week to uncover the perfect story.
Because there are so many, putting out a media release is a bit of a gamble and it does not guarantee media coverage. With that said, if yours gets picked up by the right outlets, it can certainly increase the reach of your research.
A really successful media release can thrust you out of your dingy office space and into the spotlight on TV, radio and the newspaper. . . nationally or even internationally!
But what are other benefits of putting out a media release?
If your research is publicly funded, you should let the public know about it
Science couldn’t survive without taxpayer money. In 2013, the US alone spent $456.1 billion on research across the private and University sectors. With so much money being spent by the general public, it seems only fair that they get a chance to hear about it.
Most people get their science from traditional media and their opinion counts.
Although blogs have become a major source of news for many people, most still get their information from traditional media by watching TV, reading news articles (online or in print), and listening to the radio.
Journalists work on tight deadlines, and with the increased pressure to produce content, non-specialised science journalists can gloss over important details or misrepresent the results of your paper. A well-crafted media release ensures journalists get all the important details right.
It raises the voice of scientists in important debates.
Perhaps your research is in a field with a small but vocal denier community. You know the ones. . . climate change, evolution, or vaccination. The public’s perception is not based around evidence, but rather how visible and loud each of the sides are. By getting your paper noticed, it’ll add to the debate, and your research could shift public perception closer to that of the scientific consensus.
You can become a science superstar.
Getting your name “out there” is an important step in becoming recognised by your peers and the public as a successful scientist. The media release is not only a helpful source of quotes for a journalist, it also serves as an invite for them to contact you. Are you ready for them?
In a time where science is shifting away from “Publish or Perish” toward “Visible or Vanish”, having your name associated with your impressive research could get you noticed for all the right reasons.
You probably have no idea where to start, but don’t worry, the Australian Science Media Centre gives some excellent advice on how to deal with the media, even on contentious science.
News coverage accounts for 8 points towards your Altmetric score.
The Altimetric score is calculated by an automated algorithm, and it represents a weighted count of the attention picked up for your research output.
It’s weighted because some channels of communication have a bigger reach than others. Facebook, YouTube and Reddit have the lowest weighting of 0.25 points, whereas traditional news articles have the highest weighting of 8 points.
Altimetric is becoming increasingly recognised by funding bodies and research institutions, and this alone should be enough to convince you to write that media release!
Many funding bodies require proof of public engagement.
Funding bodies from around the world now want to see that you’ve given outreach and dissemination more thought. We wrote a blog post covering this exact topic.
It costs you nothing but a little bit of time.
This is certainly one of the best reasons to put the effort into a media release.
Most universities have a friendly and coffee-fueled media team that has perfected the art of crafting an irresistible media release.
A solid media release also provides a corporate benefit to the University, so your university’s media team will gladly work with you. It’s a win for everyone!
So, maybe now’s the time to head on over with a box of chocolates to make some friends.
There are so many compelling reasons to send off your latest paper with a press release that it’ll be silly not to put one out with every paper.