Home > Traditional media, Uncategorized > How do you get media coverage?

How do you get media coverage?

Questions about PR present opportunities to educate about our profession

Within the past several months, I’ve gotten questions from people in related fields such as marketing, training and Web development about getting 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…

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  1. May 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Great post Mike and thank you for writing it!

    • mikeboehmer57
      May 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm

      You’re welcome, Jeanne. I may do a post soon on what makes a good news story — to focus on that part of the equasion.

  2. Pat Frew
    May 16, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Mike, great point about treating the journalists like customers–learning their needs before pitching them (the first time and every time thereafter). I think it’s also important to remember who the journalists’ customers are. When I worked in the hospitality business I dealt with eight to ten trade publications whom I called or emailed monthly. I was interested in knowing what their customers cared about because that was the basis for stories they covered. As a result I was able to acheive about two dozen placements per year every year where our organization was featured or mentioned on an annual basis.

    • mikeboehmer57
      May 17, 2010 at 7:55 am

      Awesome. Great to hear about your experience, Pat. We can all learn from each other.

  3. May 18, 2010 at 9:20 am

    To gain exposure through the media takes time and effort. Stories don’t happen overnight! It takes time to build relationships with members of the media. You must become a trusted resource for information. When you become that trusted resource, media will sometimes contact you rather than you contacting them.

    • mikeboehmer57
      May 18, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks Steve. It’s definitely a lesson in patience at times.

  4. May 18, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I enjoy coming here to see your insights on things. This post reinforces my conviction that it’s all about relationships. Build trust incrementally over time. A good reason to always be building and nurturing relationships.

    • mikeboehmer57
      May 19, 2010 at 8:00 am

      Thanks, Daniel. It’s about consistency, that’s for sure. One day at a time, one step at a time. Take the next right step, and the coverage will build over time.

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