THIS is How You Secure Media Coverage
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that publicity is like sprinkling magic unicorn dust on a business. Publicity helps to increase brand awareness in the right way at the right time with the right crowd.
Good publicity helps to build credibility, industry authority and improve a businesses position in the market. Publicity is the ability to reach a lot of people in a meaningful and memorable way. Publicity can influence behaviours and impact sales over time. Publicity is all sorts of wonderful, powerful, important things to a business and its long-term prosperity.
You might think we give publicity a bad wrap; we don’t. It’s STILL a big and important part of what we do in our PR life to support businesses. But it’s not holy grail for every project. And so what we mostly try to explain is that PR is not publicity alone.
Clients shopping for PR to purchase publicity like it’s a media coverage tuckshop has caused a lot of heartache for PR Pros around the world and it’s why we’re so passionate about changing the discourse and perception of what PR is and how it works.
BUT, with all of that preamble in mind sometimes you just need a hard and fast blog with the gimme, gimme ‘how to secure media coverage tips:’ So here it is.
5 ways you can secure media coverage for you and your business:
01: Create a story
It always starts with story. Building stories around your business through owned platforms first is the best way to start. With so much choice for consumers these days (and media with their options to run something); your story is what is uniquely yours and a point-of-differentiation.
In order to start writing stories you’ll need to spend some time on developing the ‘WHY to buy’ message. And the WHY story isn’t about why customers should buy from you. It’s about why you do what you do and your set of values and beliefs behind that. Because people buy what you believe will make their world better. Not what you sell.
Once you’re clear on your WHY as a point-of-difference. You can start to consider the stories behind the brand in everything that you do – in your events, content marketing, social media strategy and of course your media releases.
When you’re creating a story, make sure it’s relevant and newsy, backed by facts and insights and not salesy.
02: Chase a story
Chasing an existing story down is also referred to as ‘news-jacking’. This is when you scout the media for an existing story that you might be able to cartwheel off on and leverage for your business.
For example; the impact of isolation and quarantine life during the Covid pandemic saw a natural increase in people spending on DIY home-improvements including home styling items, furniture, artwork and upgrading their in-home audio and sound-systems etc. With so many more children at home during the day, the toy industry also saw an up-tick in demand. As well as this working from home life saw an increase in office supplies being purchased.
So if your business was in any of these categories; you might have been able to comment on that trend, proactively reach out to media and put yourself forward as someone who can provide an expert opinion; or better yet write an opinion piece and provide real facts, figures and insights on how this trend impacted your business.
The strategy here is to be across a variety of media outlets and mediums to scout for opportunities proactively and reactively.
03: Build your media relationships
Building rapport with journalists is as simple as being aware of their content, following them on social media, genuinely reacting to and engaging with their posts and building rapport with them via DM where appropriate.
Building rapport with media is like building any connection or friendship with anyone. It takes time. You need to find ways you can relate to the journalist in a meaningful way and provide value to them when the time comes.
When you do eventually pitch an idea or opportunity make sure it’s meaningful, value-driven, in line with what they produce by way of content and of likely interest to their audience.
Pitching can be overwhelming, but not if you’ve established a friendship or genuine connection.
Be mindful of how you reach out to media and consider the subject line if it’s via email, the angles, the timing, the length of your message, style and tone.
04: Spotlight facts, stats, insights and trends
There’s a saying in PR that goes like this ‘when there’s no news conduct a survey.’
Generating facts, figures, insights, trends and stats that support your story and key messaging brings about credibility relevance of your pitch or story idea for the journalist considering it. What they want to know when considering an editorial opportunity is ‘what do you do and why should anyone care.’ Scouting for relevant facts, stats, insights and trends help you to create an editorial opportunity that is relevant, interesting and important.
If conducting a survey isn’t realistic for you and you don’t have budget for market research; an alternative way to go is to seek out an expert in their field who would have access to such knowledge and who can reinforce what you instinctively and anecdotally know and provide a comment.
05: Position yourself as a talking head
To move up the ladder of media coverage possibility you need to position yourself as a thought-leader in your industry. And thanks to the world wide web and the power of ‘owned media’ (blogs, social media, e-books, opinion piece platforms etc.) you don’t have to wait for media to tell your story and do this for you.
You can start telling your story and sharing your opinions about what you know. You also don’t have to be an expert; in fact are we ever?! Aren’t we always learning and improve and evolving what we know. I much prefer the approach of being a ‘thought contributor’ than a ‘thought leader’.
Stay safe in sharing of what you do know; in turn advance your position and an industry influencer; increase your social proof and online reputation and improve the likely-take-up of media interest in you and ultimately media coverage.
What media look for before considering whether or not they will engage in a discussion around you or your business; suitability for media coverage is this; incredible produce or service, beautiful design, social proof, thought leadership, differentiation and relevance to their audience on a large scale.
By Jade Roberts.
raraPR Founder, Creative Director
Jade Roberts is the founder and creative director of raraPR, a boutique creative PR agency based in Melbourne, Australia. Jade is dedicated to changing the discourse around what PR is, how it works and educates and implements sustainable PR strategies for businesses doing good in a kind PR environment centred on mentorship. Jade is a published writer for both national magazines and retail brands and has extensive agency and in-house consumer-led PR and brand strategy experience across two decades.