When it comes to getting news coverage, there are a lot of things that you can do. You can use trends, social media, and more to get the attention of reporters. But how do you go about it?
Using Trends to get Media Coverage
It has become more difficult to secure media coverage in recent years. Organizations must keep up with trending topics, and events, as well as develop relationships with journalists who are gaining traction in the industry. By leveraging trends, brands can gain media exposure and create a buzz around their brand.
A good example of a trend that can be leveraged is Apple. Apple has a history of innovating towards consumer wants. In recent years, Apple’s innovations have included product announcements that have a seasonal element. Although Apple’s products may not always hit home, they are consistently a topic of discussion among reporters. Having the product as a top news story can get it noticed by potential customers, and create a favorable reputation for the company.
The public is often aware of trends and follows them. While it is important to stay on top of the latest trends, brands need to be careful about ignoring those that are not yet mainstream. If a brand ignores an emerging trend, it can miss out on media opportunities, and in some cases, that ignorance can damage its reputation. But a successful campaign can get good press, which can help the company’s image and bring attention to a problem. So the key is to plan, scan, and ran: Plan the campaign, scan for trends, and be among those organizations whose news ran through yesterday’s headlines.
To get the most out of a PR campaign, it’s crucial to build a strong relationship with journalists. Not only can it help you get your message across, but it can also give you access to influencers and opinion leaders in your industry. Get to know the people you work with. Take them to lunch, call from time to time, and remember them on their birthdays and Christmas.
Anyone Can Get Media Attention
There’s no question that getting media coverage can boost your organization’s reputation. This can be done by pitching your story ideas to reporters, sending press releases or utilizing social media. In the past, press releases were reserved for PR specialists, but thanks to technological advances, it’s easier than ever to get your story in front of the right eyes. The best way to do this is to produce content that a reporter will find interesting. For example, you can write a compelling story or offer a free sample. If you’re a micro-influencer, you might even get some free publicity for your efforts.
Pitching Reporters what they Cover
It should go without saying, but you need to pitch a reporter what he or she covers. Know their beats. Granted, some journalists are general assignment reporters (GAR), which means they cover a variety of news topics. But, most GARs will direct you to the assignment editor, or forward your press release to that desk.
Knowing a reporters’ beat is extremely important, not so much so you know what not to send her, but how to negotiate coverage. For example, if you represent a school, you may think at first glance, you’re limited to education reporters. Not necessarily. If you happen know the arts and entertainment reporter sometimes covers stories involving child musicians, you can craft an angle that suits both the A&E beat and your school’s needs.
Also be personal. Don’t email blast or bcc reporters with news that has potential to become feature stories as you would for a general event such as a special assembly. Don’t use email merge when it can be avoided. If gaining coverage is important, then the extra steps and personal touch are investments. Your email should be personalized to the recipient and should convey that you know who you’re pitching. Also, make sure that your subject line is relevant and powerful. Keep in mind, most subject lines are truncated after a few words, so create something catchy. The more direct, personalized, and beat-appropriate your email is, the better the chances that the recipient will give it consideration.
The first part of your email should provide some basic background information in one paragraph. This should include some of your most interesting findings, your credentials, and how your story fits into the reporter’s beat. Providing a little background information will go a long way in convincing your the reporter that you’re a legitimate news source.
The second part of your email should offer your research findings in a jargon-free manner. While general buzzwords should be eliminated from your vocabulary, you can use industry jargon sparingly with a reporter who specializes in writing about your industry. Buzzwords cheapen one’s presentation and make the person look mundane. It’s also good to avoid industry jargon when possible.
If you’re promoting a new product, offer to send samples if possible, or provide multimedia links. Always share how your news will benefit the reporter’s readers, viewers, or listeners.
About the Press Release
A press release is a short, easily read piece of writing that shares news about a business. You should aim for as few words as possible, but the overarching rule is to include that which must be conveyed. Depending on the matter, it may take a few pages to convey everything. To keep your press release tight, use subheads and links to “more information.”
You need your press release to sound authentic. Including a quote from an executive, project manager, or participant can add a lot of appeal. A good press release “feels like” the organization that generated it. Including background information can also help make your press release feel more authentic.
Before you begin to write your press release, get a clear picture of who your target audience is. This is an essential step, because that is exactly who the reporter is thinking about when evaluating press releases.
Whether you are looking for a local newspaper or a national publication, you should have an idea of the type of stories that they cover. In fact, you might have better chances of getting covered if you know about bigger news stories.
Using Social Media to Get Reporters’ Attention
One of the most effective ways to garner positive news coverage is by using social media to get reporters’ attention. Many journalists follow Twitter accounts and use Google searches to get information. This allows them to publish comments that offer an alternative viewpoint or correct erroneous information. And, by monitoring reporters’ social media accounts, you’ll get a clearer sense of how to approach them with news they can use.
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