9 TIPS THAT CAN HELP YOU GET BETTER AND MORE CONSISTENT COVERAGE FROM THE MEDIA
You’ve got a great story.
It is so great , you know that everyone on the planet would love to cover it, talk about it and help it go viral.
Where do you start if you want the media to pick it up?
Here are some hints from someone who has been on both ends of this exciting dilemma. Let’s assume I’m the type of person you want to target. How do you get my attention? How do you get your story covered? Here’s my opinion. Hope it helps.
#1 – Know who you are talking to.
Take the time to find out who I am and what I cover. If you do that, I’ll be more inclined to take the time to read or hear what you have to say.
For example: one of the shows I produce is the Digital Production BuZZ. We are an interview-based show, an audio only tech podcast specifically about digital production, post-production and distribution.
It is amazing how many queries come in to the BuZZ asking me to book stories about lifestyle issues, for example…? What? Obviously that person has never even been to our website let alone listened to one of the shows.
Ok, I don’t make a big deal out if it, but those releases automatically get filed in the archives without being read.
Bottom line: when saying “hello” please try to remember who I am.
#2 – Be selective and if I respond, please respond back.
Target only those journalists who you think would really want to cover your story. If we think you are sending out thousands of releases and just fishing for the first person to bite, it makes it much less interesting. If , on the other hand, we know that you have taken the time to consider our subject matter or field of expertise and will actually be interested in working with us, then we’re happy to respond.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a press release, indicated interest to the sender and then had a difficult time getting further information. So, they are either incredibly overworked, or are not interested in booking a story with my outlets. Please don’t waste my time. If you do, the next time I get a release from you it will go unread or worse, in the trash.
Bottom line: don’t invite me to the party unless you mean it.
#3 – Be organized.
Please, please, please – include easily found contact information on your release.
Don’t assume that what you have written is what we will publish.
We need to check the facts, do additional research and perhaps book an interview with your spokesperson.
Have you give us a way to get in touch with you ? Make it difficult for us to find you or your client, and we’ll have to move on to the next story.
Bottom line: the more efficient you are, the more coverage you’ll get from us.
#4 – Include the correct web links.
Make it easy for journalists to find your client’s information on the web . If they have to navigate six pages and do special searches to find the product or person you are writing about, you are being either unorganized or simply inconsiderate.
Please give me out links that work and gets the media immediately to the information they need in order to help you get your story out there.
If you include a copy of the full release with photos, videos and further links, you get a gold star!
Bottom line: this isn’t an episode of the “Amazing Race.” Get us where we want to go with no hassles.
#5 – If we decide to work together on the story and I tell you I have a deadline, please respect it!
I don’t care if you represent the King of the World, if you make me beg for information that absolutely has to be here at the right time and in the right format, if you make me late with my deliverables…then … I’ll move on to the next story, and I probably won’t want to work with you again.
Bottom line: be considerate.
#6 – Tell the truth.
We have a relationship. I need to trust you. Don’t exaggerate, lie or manipulate.
Tell the truth. We can figure this out together.
I remember years ago, when I was on the other side of this fence, calling a well-known film critic at a well-known paper and actually telling him, “this movie is a real stinker, so please don’t review it, but I need to get the word out about MajorStarX and I would really appreciate it if we could work out an exclusive editorial piece…”
Bottom line: he got a great profile story on a major star and I saved the studio the potential embarrassment of a bad review (which by the way, could have affected our ticket sales). No one lied. We worked together and we both won. In the process, we built a relationship that lasted for years.
Other Bottom line: The truth works.
P.S. the movie is still a stinker, but as sometimes happens, it has become a cult classic for that very reason (smile). Who knew?
#7 – Have something newsworthy.
“Blah, blah, blah, my client wants me to talk about him,” gets you nowhere. Something new and newsworthy gets you covered.
Bottom line: This is news, not coffee klatsch.
#8 – If you truly have something you believe in and you believe that it is something appropriate
for me to cover and I’ve not gotten back to you, feel free to come full circle again.
I get lots of emails every day and, although I welcome them and try very hard to be responsive, sometimes things slip through the cracks. I have come to love those PR people who gently nudge me at the right time. Most of the time, they are doing me a favor!
Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here and start sending me multiple copies of emails! Only use this technique after we’ve established a track record together and use it sparingly!
Bottom line: no one is perfect, least of all me, so feel free to send a reminder when it is important.
#9 – Don’t go “over my head.”
If you’ve pitched something and I don’t think it is appropriate for a show that I produce, please don’t send it to someone else at the show. The decision is mine and you won’t make any brownie points by mucking up the waters. If it really means that much to you and you believe it is appropriate for us to do a story on it, approach me again. Chances are I’ll discuss it with you and together we can figure something out.
Bottom line: if you don’t like my decision, talk to me about it.
Am I ranting? Wow…guess I am.
It’s most likely because I love what I do and also because our relationship is important!
Hope this helps.
Please feel free to comment and thanks for listening!
I appreciate you.