Whether you are a small start up or a large corporate brand, there is no doubt that you will both have one aim in common; promoting your brand/ message. However this sounds much easier than it actually is.
A large part of my role working within the PR Industry has been to build relationships with the Media and maintain them. However if this is not something you have ever had to do, or is not your particular specialism/ interest, this may pose as quite daunting and quite frankly a minefield. So where do you start? One might suggest this is where the need for a PR Agency or your own in-house communications team comes in to the equation, but this article aims to help you get started and promote your brand/ message yourself by taking on board some really easy to do tips and applying a few simple easy steps.
There are a number of ideas that you can try yourself to promote your company/ brand and build relationships with the media you might be trying to target. It is important to note, that it is not as easy as just writing a press release and sending one out to a few email addresses or postal addresses. Journalists, and magazines receive thousands of press releases each day, so why should they read one from someone they may never have heard of before? If, however you have built a relationship with them, they know your name/ or your company and that particular time it is of interest to them, then you might strike lucky and they will pick up your story and run with it. However this is all chance and not something that you can rely on as a long-term strategy. Apart from Press Releases there are a number of other ways to receive coverage.
Here are some tips on ways you can start securing some of your own coverage and build your own long-term relationships with the Media. It is important to note though that alongside these actions you ‘must’ ensure that you measure what you are doing and determine whether what you are doing is successful or adding to your return on investment. You can then tailor your approach, or your message accordingly.
It is always so important to measure what it is that you chose to take part in.
So here are your Tips:
Research the Media. Spend time researching Journalists, bloggers, media and authors who demonstrate a particular interest with your sector or topic and find out what they are saying. Digest their perspective and study their audiences. From this you can start to make a list of key writers and find out whether they are freelance or work for a particular sector magazine or newspaper. It is suggested to start off with a small manageable list of approximately 8-10.
From this short list, you can now take the next step and contact them. Introduce yourself and arrange a meeting or better still how about holding an event solely aimed at them such as a ‘meet the media breakfast’. This could allow you an opportunity to bring together your short list of key media contacts and find out from them what stories or news they are looking for and a further opportunity for you to tell them about your plans.
Such events are well received, if they a short and worthwhile for the participant. The timing is also an important consideration, and it is suggested that early morning events work well, so the event will not interfere too much with the working day (a free meal is always well received!)
Ensure you set an agenda ensuring you are accommodating as much for the journalists as you are for you. Think what they would want from such an event, what’s in it for them? It is also useful to note that journalists move around a lot, so you could plan to hold such events on a 12 monthly basis. This also encourages a long-term relationship.
From such an event you can also find out each contact’s preferred method of contact. This is a really important factor in determining success of your story or news receiving any coverage.
Offer exclusives. If you are planning on a product launch or you want to promote a story about a growth within your business you could offer this as an exclusive to a particular sector magazine or journalist. This type of story if newsworthy is always very well received and once again builds a further long lasting relationship with your media contacts. The only factor to remember here is that you may then not receive as wide coverage due to the exclusivity of the story, so think about making an agreement with the journalist after they have communicated your story whether it can then be distributed to other contacts for wider coverage thereafter.
Always try and put yourselves in the Media’s shoes. It is not about your organisation or brand from their point of view, it is about them. Their job is to capture newsworthy stories. There are hundreds of stories out there that they could cover, so always remember ‘why should they cover yours?’
Offer them with the opportunity to make their job easier, they will be thankful for this.
Utilise Social Media. Many journalists, reporters, and bloggers make themselves available on platforms such as Twitter. Social Media opens up a whole new world of access to some highly valuable contacts that in the past may have been much harder to access. Look for influential blogs in your industry (using blog search engines like Technorati), subscribe to them, and start following their authors on Twitter. Also look to start following journalists who target your industry Sometimes reporters will also use Twitter to broadcast that they’re seeking subjects or sources for a particular story they’re writing. Start tweeting with them but DON’T oversell your organization or brand.
Below are a list of Twitter Tools for Finding Influencers:
Here are some helpful tools you can use to pinpoint the influencers and media professionals covering your industry:
2. Muck Rack: Muck Rack is a free website that enables you to search for and locate journalists by source (publication) or by beat (topic).
3. JournalistTweets: JournalistTweets is a free site that curates tweets from journalists and allows users to filter journalists on Twitter by industry.
Relationships lead to coverage. It may take some time to build lasting relationships with the media, journalists, bloggers and reporters but long term it will be worth it. PR coverage can be rewarding and a financial benefit for any business, adding credibility and providing third-party validation for your company and brand.
Hopefully these tips will help get you started in building some of your own relationships with the Media and promote your company or brand.
If you are looking to promote or pitch your company or brand further, ensuring you are measuring its success and longevity and would like a long term strategy, then get in touch with 2Communicate. We love talking, its what we do best! We can help get people talking about your brand.
Tel: 07958 490263
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sarahmwillispr