An insider’s guide to getting media coverage: Part two

Last week, I shared essential tips for attracting media attention for your business. Need more reporter bait? Read on for additional strategies that will help get you and your company the right kind of attention.

Don’t send broadcast emails

Tailor pitches to individual publications that focus on your industry and reporters whose beats encompass your topics. You should have no problem doing this if you did your homework upfront. Never send a group email with your entire distribution list shown or blind copied. It makes you look lazy. Some news outlets will even shy away from your story if they know you’re offering it to every journalist with a pulse.

Be creative with email subject lines to capture an editor’s or reporter’s interest. Don’t SHOUT in all caps or use a bunch of exclamation points, however. Editorial staff won’t take them seriously and they could cause your messages to be mistaken for spam.

Send press releases – they’re not dead

A strong pitch doesn’t always equate to your getting a story. An editor may send a reporter when your employees donate their time at the local animal shelter, but significant breaking news that day can kick your story to the curb. Hedge your bets and send a killer press release. You might not get coverage that day, but the news outlets may still run your release.

As with your pitch email or phone call, be concise. Put the most important news in the first paragraph — who, what, when, where, why and how. Don’t include technical or industry jargon, unsubstantiated claims and bloated language such as “revolutionary” and “exceptional.” You’ll score points if you can keep your release to one page or less.

Make it easy for them

Be prepared for a phone call or email from a reporter. Have a list of sources they can interview, along with the times they are available, their contact information and their areas of expertise. Don’t supply only one source or hog the spotlight. If a news organization contacts you, let your sources know who they may be hearing from and when, if possible. If any sources need coaching, be sure to allow plenty of time in advance. The easier you can make the media’s job, the greater your chances of being featured.

Stay top of mind

It often takes multiple phone calls and emails before you can lock in a story. Don’t stalk editors and reporters, but follow up with them consistently. Resist the urge to ask if and when they’ll use your press release. Even when newsrooms were staffed at reasonable levels, it was impossible to track the hundreds of press releases that came in every day. Be aware of their deadlines. It’s best not to call newspaper reporters after 3 p.m. or contact TV stations during their morning and evening newscasts.

Knowing what kinds of stories the media likes and how to pitch them successfully is key to getting placements. If you weren’t successful the first time, keep at it. Timing, persistence and the right story will often make the difference.

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