Media coverage can make wonders for your business. So solid news media strategies should be part of well-rounded publicity campaigns. As opposed to advertising, articles have high credibility, are read and for free – if you manage to get the editors’ interest.
Develop contacts in the media
Learn how journalists and editors work and decide what to publish. It’s easier than you believe. Media is constantly looking for news and are happy to write about companies and business people, provided they consider the story to be of interest to their readers. Do you have a story to tell, positive news or wish to comment on something in the news related to your business? Pick up the phone and call the journalist. This can be particularly fruitful if your organization has an ongoing need to be in the newspaper or on TV.
Editorializing your news is crucial. What subjects are media interested in and why? What would make them interested in what you have to tell? Read, watch and study as many news outlets as possible and try to understand what makes news. Then present it in ways that make the journalist feel it is newsworthy.
Get to the point and keep it short
When sending press releases to media covering your field keep it short to the point. If it’s long and complicated the editor may not even read it. Don’t make it appear like advertising, boast or complicate it because that can work against you. Focus on what’s new, trendy, unusual, interesting, and of significance to the broadest numbers of readers. News organizations also love stories that arouse deep emotions – love, sympathy, hate, fear, anger – feelings that people can identify with.
Call the media swiftly
Journalists are flooded by emails so the best way of succeeding is to call him/her. Once you have got them interested in your story you can proceed with sending an email with information. And be swift. Nobody is interested in yesterday’s news. If you spend too much time contemplating how to best get results you will miss the boat. Arrange a news conference if you believe, or know, you news will generate significant media attention.
If necessary use a PR & Communications consultant. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but is well worth it. Media coverage can be make or break for your business so until you master the art of handling the press it is money well spent.
Don’t hesitate to be interviewed and profiled in the media because it increases your chances of getting your news published. Look at Richard Branson. He masters the art of using himself as a living “advertisement” for Virgin Group. And I don’t need to tell you how successful he is. Where would Virgin be today if Richard hadn’t manged to get an abundance of media coverage? Don’t be afraid to ask for coverage and propose specific ideas. Your story could become the centerpiece on the front page. Don’t be discouraged or argumentative if your idea falls on deaf ears. You will learn from the experience. And don’ forget that the editor may turn you down today simply because the staff ’s time is taken up by other assignments. Be persistent. Be positive. Develop more and better ways to pitch your organisation into the news media. And whatever you do, don’t forget that if they don’t like you they will not publish your news. So make sure you come across in ways that make both you and the company look good.
Picture: Gautier Delecroix