Ever wondered why some businesses are always in the news and others are not? Why did they get that interview instead of you?
Well it is not necessarily anything to do with you or your business, your knowledge or your ability. It is your approach.
So many of us think it’s as easy as just picking up the phone to a journalist/ blogger or magazine and telling them our story. It’s not.
Here are 50 Top Tips with ways you can increase the likelihood your business will be in the news, and perhaps front page:
1. Don’t just build relationships with the media when you need them. Start now. Invite them along to your company and tell them who you are, and what you have planned over the next 12 months. Find out what they have planned. Use Social Media to widen your contacts. Connect with potential reporters on Twitter and LinkedIn.
2. Use Social Media as a research tool and monitor the Twitter hashtags of your community. Often reporters chat with the public on Twitter, and you can respond to comments they make or provide them with information they might be asking for.
3. Compliment a reporter via Twitter on a story he or she did.
4. Introduce yourself to reporters at big public or chamber of commerce events. Pass along your card, but don’t try and sell them the idea on the spot. Just be helpful, friendly and memorable.
5. Invite reporters out for coffee, and find out about what interests them and what they want to write about. Ask them what stories work well and what stories don’t.
6. Comb through Muck Rack to find regional or national reporters on Twitter who cover your industry.
7. Congratulate them on their birthdays, or other personal news they post.
8. Leave comments at the end of online stories/ blog a reporter did. How did it make you feel? Was it useful?
9. Sign up to Response Source or Gorkana (there is a subscription charge.) E-mail notifications are sent to your inbox daily, full of reporters needing experts for stories. Jump on those that fall within your expertise.
10. Visit city council meetings in your town. Typically there’s a reporter sitting around bored, that you can build a relationship with.
11. Have you got your own company blog? Why not write a positive blog post on your blog highlighting a story of theirs, and e-mail them the link.
12. Search publications with smaller and more targeted readerships, such as a local business weekly publication. These media outlets are often run by just two or three people, and they will often welcome a guest column or article by you because it will save them the time of tracking down a story on their own.
13. I would always reccomend spending some of your PR budget on an online press release site early on in your campaign. Online press release systems are more useful for building inbound links, or if you’re already a recognised expert with a track record, and there is a major news event breaking that you could discuss.
14. Listen to radio stations and watch the news, especially on weekday mornings or on Saturdays. Try and connect with one of the regular show hosts. Often they will highlight an event or camapign a buisness is doing if the public might find interesting.
15. Ask reporters if they wouldnt mind you adding them to your email list. Then provide them with education-based content marketing to sell them on doing a story about your business.
16. Point reporters to blog posts you think they would be interested in, whether on it is your own blog or others. It validates you as an expert.
17. Always say yes without fail if a reporter wants to interview you that day, even if it has to be over the phone or while you’re on holiday. Reporters work 24/7 so its important to remember this and be flexible.
18. Offer occasional suggestions of angles you think would make great follow-up stories, especially that don’t have anything to do with your business. Nearly all stories are parts of a long-running issues, so reporters always need additional story follow-up ideas.
19. Be a source for stories that fall within your expertise by letting reporters in your industry know you’re available when they need a source. This can lead to regular spots on the news.
20. Be freindly and be helpful. Remember reporters have a job to do.
21. Offer to connect reporters to experts you know . If the reporter sounds interested, follow through with the offer.
22. Always keep a camaera handy for photo opportunities. However shoudl you be taking picture of people you will need to ask permission if you are looking to send these out.
23. Offer to write a column on your specialty for the online website of a media site, or for a print publication in your area.
24. Define the story in just one sentence, so you can easily explain it to the media in 10 seconds.
25. Provide visuals…a story comes alive with pictures.
26. Focus on selling the benefits to viewers, listeners or readers first. It’s about their perspective of what you’re selling, not about how wonderful it would be for you to sell your product or service.
27. Include people in your story pitch. Many owners try to pitch their company’s achievements, but stories that sell normally have people involved, not just the company.
28. Create a video of your story and post it on YouTube. Pormote it via twitter and LinkedIn and send a clip or a teaser to reporters. It could become viral.
29. On occassion you could provide ‘exclusivity’ to a story. Some reporters want to have stories first.
30. Always porvide releavtn contacts and interviews for anyone concerned in your story, it will add value to your story.
31. Provide actual users of your service or product for the media to interview. Their testimonials will boost your credibility.
32. Use survey results and highlight trends where your business could be included or relevant. Nearly every trend can be turned into a story.
33. Can you get a customer or client to reccoemnd you and provide an interview?
34. Always include quotes in any story. Dates are also useful, however can often mena a story is time senstive.
35. Copy relevant documents for the reporter, to provide at the interview, or prior to it.
36. Always include a summary/ the hook of what the story entails int he first paragraph of your press release.
37. Give reporters notice before a story or event (2 weeks is sufficient.)
38. Have relevant background research at the ready (just in case). Reporters will ask for it if they need it.
39. If your story concerns a location travel to it and make the reporter aware of this, you coudl even offer to pick him up?
40. Choose to meet in person if an option, because the journalist will then get to know you better, and you’ll have more time with him or her.
41. Hop onto current/ breaking news relevant to your industry as a chance to put yourself in the local news. Act as a thought leader/ expert.
42. Pitch local stories to local reporters. National attention typically springs from local attention first.
43. Act enthusiastic. If you don’t seem excited about the idea, neither will they.
44. Express why this story is of value to your community. If it’s a story you wouldn’t bother reading yourself, no one else will.
45. Avoid pestering reporters keep trying every few weeks to pitch an idea, until a reporter gives a straight yes-or-no answer to your idea. Or ask them what they want or are currently working on, can you tailor your story?
46. Write short e-mails to reporters and provide bullet points. Your e-mail is much more likely to get read by busy reporters if it’s short and to the point.
47. Ensure your e-mail subject line doesn’t just state ‘press release’ provide a question that will make them want to read your email. Always think about the ‘whats in it for me’.
48. Hold a fundraising campaign and provide a story for the reasons for your cause.
49. Propose being on a local talk show, early morning or drive time show, which often gives you 20 minutes to highlight your business or a campaign you might have.
50. Do not just cold call reporters and do not leave voicemails if they do not answer. Warm up the reporter by sending an e-mail first, with a paragraph spelling out the bottom line of the story idea, then follow up with a call a few hours or a day later, depending on the urgency of the story.
After reading all of these tips you may be wondering about your return on investment. Keep in mind that the value of news coverage can be tied to any of your key performance indicators, including sales, memberships, referrals, website traffic and so on. You just need to make sure you set appropriate objectives at the outset and incorporate a way to measure success.
Do you have an example of something your organization did recently that successfully attracted the media attention?
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