As explained in my previous blog post, there are numerous benefits to using PR as part of your marketing plan. It positions businesses, individuals, products or services in a positive way, increases brand awareness and sets you apart from your competition. You don’t have to wait to start obtaining media coverage. Today’s post focuses on strategies you can use yourself to get media coverage you want and need.
The best place to start is by reverse engineering the whole process; really think about what you would do with the coverage if you got it? Why do you want your story to be told? The answer can vary based on the type of coverage you receive and want. You can send links and videos to clients, prospects or use it as part of a sales presentation kit. Remember PR is a vital part of a marketing plan for a business or individual.
To make sure your PR efforts are effective, first identify your target audiences and their preferred choices for news outlets. Research your prospects and understand what they are reading and watching. You want to position yourself in the media in a way that is relevant to your target audience. Media coverage is most valuable when it directly or indirectly reaches the right people.
To succeed in this effort you need to develop a list of media contacts. These are the people to whom you will pitch your story. You must know who they are and build relationships with them. You need to be aware of the specific department or subject matter a writer or reporter covers. It’s now time to pitch and here are a few strategies to follow:
- Think like a reporter: What do they need/ want? What angles, stories or subjects does this reporter usually find interesting and write about? Recognize that they have deadlines and only bring appropriate stories to them at the right time.
- Find out what is trending: If your story or information is relevant to trending news, the media will be more inclined to write about it. They need to see that it is newsworthy and what is your connection to the story or trend. If you can be industry specific or if you can create a local connection, even better.
- Demonstrate that you are an expert: why should members of the media even listen to you? You should be prepared to back up all your information with details, facts and sources. The media can position you as an expert in your field if you provide them with everything they need, which sometimes includes having clients and customers ready to provide information or quotes. A story that includes people with whom you have worked or you have assisted boosts your reputation and strengthens your relationship with reporters.
- Always think about the visual aspects of storytelling. Today all print and online media as well at TV media outlets want greater visuals. These can be images or locations and people that are interesting. Always include a description or sample of what the visual will be when pitching.
Pitches are most successful when they are short and offer a solution to a problem and provide a personal connection or narrative. Members of the media are not looking to do a commercial about businesses and write about how great they are. Pitches that are clearly promotional are often disregarded and can foster negative perceptions.
Pitch ideas create a “buzz” and new awareness about a topic. Again, describe and provide an opportunity to tell the story with visuals. Images and video clips can all be helpful in this capacity.
As described in Part I, each story in the media gives people a chance to learn about your business, your brand and what you stand for. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you practice your pitches. You want to deliver pitches clearly and professionally. At Corbett Public Relations we also recommended that you think about the medium you are pitching to; stories for print, online, TV and radio vary based on the length and space for visuals. For example, radio spots may only allow for a few minutes to tell the story, so be sure to send an informed and articulate public speaker, while print will most likely offer more space for details and visuals to enhance the story.
Knowing how to best pitch to these mediums is something that everyone can learn through practice and experience. However, it does take time and effort to learn the practices and build a contact list.
We encourage everyone to seek media coverage and ask professionals questions about how you can do it yourself or with some assistance.
Public Relations professionals work with the media every day. Most, like those who work with our firm, have strong and established relationships with the media. These relationships come from communicating with the media regularly on behalf of many different clients. If you are not 100 percent prepared, it is best to seek out a PR professional that can help prepare or perhaps work on your behalf to gain the coverage you need for your brand and your business.
If you have any questions about PR and how to pitch the media, please feel free to contact us.