Although the media landscape has changed significantly with the rise of social media, we’re here to let you in on a well-kept secret – gaining editorial coverage of your business, service or product (we’re talking straight up, positive media coverage) can still be one of the best, and most cost effective, ways to connect with your audience(s).
Getting the media to “talk” about your business can be reactive or proactive. Reactive means reporters/producers approach you (and your business) directly about doing an interview. This is a GREAT opportunity to share your good news and show off your media training skills. That said, most organizations don’t have reporters breaking down the door. Enter proactive coverage, which requires you to actively reach out to reporters/producers to ‘pitch’ a story idea/interview. Developing this skill can add incredible value to your communications strategy and help you foster solid media relationships.
Know your audience A media outlet or reporter is not your audience. Large, prestigious media organizations can have a certain allure but, depending on your company, may not be the best way to reach YOUR audience. Before making a pitch, be sure to ask yourself 1) who will be reading/listening/watching and 2) are they YOUR people? Knowing who you want to reach is critical to executing a
Do your research Audience – check! Next step, select which media outlet/reporter to pitch. This means research (hello Google!), and, trust us, the extra work is worth it! Also, remember the changing media landscape we referenced above? While the major outlets have a wide reach, your business goals might be better served by connecting with the community newspapers/magazines, bloggers, social media influencers, niche freelance writers, larger magazines, and trade publications being read, watched and listened to by your target audience. Know your chosen outlet While understanding who you’re pitching probably seems like a no brainer, you’d be surprised at how many people skip this step. That is, until they send a somewhat odd or irrelevant pitch and sour a potentially important relationship – for good. Reporters often cover several beats and work on multiple stories at once under tight deadlines so get to know the themes they follow, area(s) of expertise and recent coverage. Then draft a pitch that adds value to their current repertoire. And always, always, double check the spelling of their name! Send it off, then let it be After you’ve submitted your pitch (email works best), follow up once (twice at the most), but remember, any more than that tips the scale from excited to pushy, likely hindering your efforts. Bottom line: reporters cover news – current events, unique ideas and fresh perspectives – so if that’s what you’re delivering, a quick response is very likely! If you don’t get an answer, especially after following up, take it as a no and move on – your next great pitch could be right around the corner!