July 8th, 2016
Securing media coverage is not easy, especially when you are just starting out and have limited time and resources. But with the right planning, you can significantly improve your media opportunities, generate awareness and differentiate your brand.
As the media continues to evolve, it can be difficult to connect with the right reporters, journalists, bloggers and influencers. Here are 10 tactics to consider; they will certainly improve your ability to garner ink and airtime.
Have a solid story and make sure that you can articulate it in less than 60 seconds, without jargon. Swiping, scrolling and 140 character streams inundate the media landscape. Your message needs to be simple and crisp and devoid of industry buzzwords.
Understand the market and clearly articulate how your product or service is different. What problem do you solve? What are the pains of your target audience? Why are you a better alternative to exiting solutions?
Surveys, focus groups, A/B tests, pilots, soft launches, and case studies lend credibility to your value proposition. Be sure to leverage third-party analyst groups and research firms for industry data.
Reporters and the those that consume their stories are hyper-connected and have access to a deluge of information. Visuals can attract attention and help tell a story. Infographics, illustrations, videos and podcasts are equally useful to provide additional context in pitches and storytelling.
Don’t announce your product or service until you can deliver the appropriate content experience, especially if the solution is not available to demo or purchase. Offering a minimal viable product is critical; be sure to have an array of information available to tell your story. If not, consider waiting until these content assets are ready.
It is imperative to build in enough lead-time for reporters to grasp your announcement. Reporters are always working on multiple story ideas and assignments. Providing an opportunity for them to learn about your new product or service in advance, and still be timely with their reporting is paramount. Offering previews or demos ahead of the official launch can significantly improve your take rate.
Sending your pitch or press release to every reporter at the Wall Street Journal will not win you any points. Quality is always better than quantity. Narrow your target list, do the research to find the most appropriate contact, read, watch and listen to their work, and thread what you learn from this into personalized pitches.
Sharing and engaging on social media can help cut though the noise and make connections with key reporters. We are all human. Demonstrating that you have a genuine interest in their work will separate you from the “spray and pray’ers.”
During media interviews, listen first and answer questions succinctly. Offer anecdotes and reference data. Interviews are a give and take: you’re looking to establish a relationship and garner coverage; reporters want trusted sources and are always looking for interesting story angles.
Never assume an interview will convert. There are a million reasons why your story can get cut. In some cases, the timing might not be right, other breaking news may take precedent, or the reporter was simply not feeling it. If coverage is a no-go, don’t take it personally, just keep plugging away. When you have a great story, someone will take notice.