How do you get media coverage?
They want to draw attendees to an event, get people to buy their book, or generate more clients for their business.
I haven’t had to ask them questions about the newsworthiness of their event, book or business. When they describe them, I can tell there is a news hook — a unique angle that could get them some coverage. Something a media outlet’s readers or viewers would appreciate.
In some cases, I’ve given them suggestions about newspaper, Internet, TV or radio reporters who cover their area. I’ve suggested that they e-mail a brief pitch with a link to further information. Or maybe I’ve told them to look up e-mail addresses on websites of media outlets in their city — and follow-up with an e-mail.
They can’t believe it’s that simple!
Well, it isn’t.
The hard part comes in building positive working relationships the people at the end of those e-mail addresses. They’re busy people who are bombarded with dozens of e-mails and calls (and snail mail) each day.
Each has particular needs and preferences. They have a specific time that’s best to reach them. Some want loads of pertinent stats; others compelling visual. Some would love to tour your place, or meet up at a trade show. Others like Webinars.
You need to read their articles and watch their broadcasts. You cultivate good relationships by providing good customer service. You build a track record over time.
But doesn’t have to take forever, especially if you’ve got a PR person or team to give you some tips.
In my first PR job after 12 years in journalism,we got lots of positive coverage for our software company in the computer trade press by getting editorial calendars from them — and striving to meet their needs.
Some wanted to talk to a techie. Most wanted customers who had used the product to solve a problem. We worked hard — sometimes pulling executives out of important meetings so a writer could meet a deadline — and sweet talking customers to take time to do phone interviews. We kept track of every media pitch (call, e-mail, mail, meeting at trade show) in a database to show how hard we were working — and give us leverage when an executive wouldn’t want to leave a meeting to talk with a reporter. We also used this to show how the executive’s time was well-spent, resulting in a front-page cover or placement in a national publication that reached a new target audience.
I made a point of connecting face-to-face at trade shows in San Francisco, Boston and Dallas. Some went to lunch with a marketing manager and me. They saw me as a person, a former journalist, instead of one of the pack of PR folks filling their e-mail boxes.
That’s how you get media coverage.
Hope this was helpful! I’d be interested in your thoughts, experiences…