When it comes to getting media placements for your company, it’s not blind luck — just as you need bait for fishing, you need a media strategy in business. As a CEO for nearly three decades, I’ve learned the most effective ways to get (free) media placements and how to leverage key points of a brand’s story.
When I talk about free media coverage, I’m referring to the art of getting the attention of a reporter or editor so that your company either receives mention in an originally reported article or that the news you submit is included in an upcoming edition. This may seem like an impossible feat and you do need to earn it. Reporters are not generally inclined to mention a company simply because you ask nicely. What is effective, however, is to think like a reporter.
There are thousands of businesses vying for free or earned coverage, so you need to consider your bait. Think about what makes your news different or special. Take an objective look at the message you’re trying to put out there. Try to highlight what’s new or unusual. Differentiate yourself.
How you write the press release is as important as the content when it comes to getting media attention. The ‘who, what, when, where and why’ should all be explained in the first two sentences. Don’t forget the critically important question, “Who cares?” Why is this news important and why should someone bother reading it? Failure to answer all six of these questions will significantly increase the chance of your release ending up in the trash.
Think about the audience you want to reach. Are you looking to attract Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States? Or is your target east coast businesses with annual revenues of $50-$100 million? Every company will have a different target audience. Now consider which media outlets will reach your target market — think about newspapers, magazines, online publications, TV and radio. Once you have your list, research each publication in which you want placement. What topics do the reporters cover? Do they focus on geographic newsbeats or are they subject matter experts?
Also consider the type of news you want to share. If you want to announce a new hire or a promotion, local and hyperlocal media outlets will probably be your best bet. If you’re an organization with a staff expert on a subject that’s become a topic of national debate, that news has the potential to lure a much wider audience. Remember to consider trade publications that focus on the markets you’re trying to reach.
We’ve all heard about the cutbacks in the news business, but this can actually work to your advantage. Fewer reporters mean those who remain are stretched thin and usually grateful for news that is pertinent to their particular beat. If you’re a pharmaceutical company, for example, your news is more likely to appeal to health and business reporters than be picked up by a political reporter.
Build your media list with an eye to detail. You may want to create a few different lists and write different versions of each press release to appeal to different reporters. Tailoring your pitch will only increase your chances of media pickup.
I like to think of media outlets as partners. Reporters and editors strive to publish news that their readers want. For Creative Marketing Alliance, we try to share news that will catch their attention — pitches that showcase our market expertise, talented employees and charitable works.
Our recent big news was the announcement that CMA was named Outstanding Small Business of the Year 2016 by the MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce. We were thrilled with the news and have shared it far and wide — even here.
So go ahead, you can’t catch anything unless you have a lure in the water!