The modern media environment is brimming with opportunities. Positive media coverage can be achieved through an array of strategies beyond the traditional press release. A PR agency can pitch you as a spokesperson for interviews, or utilise your business or cause as a case study to be involved in scheduled feature articles and news pieces.
Chances are, you have valuable insights, and can be positioned as a thought leader through editorial, or ‘bylined articles’ and opinion pieces, offering timely new perspectives and building positive associations toward you and your brand. Through such perspectives, despatched into relevant media, with a savvy sense of timing, there are multiple communication strategies in public relations to raising your profile.
- Choose media targets wisely.
Understand why you’re seeking media coverage and make sure your activities, and the media you’re targeting, align with your ultimate goal. Why waste time and your PR spend on media coverage that fills your media coverage report but isn’t relevant or influential?
Don’t squander time and resources trying to court big media targets that may initially lay out of reach. Instead, consider aiming for several smaller pieces of coverage to increase the chance of something being picked up. If the content of these smaller pieces is strong, you can then use them as marketing tools, and you can build momentum over time for the bigger pieces.
- Pitch newsworthy angles rather than generating hype.
Working on good angles will generally cost less than starting up the hype machine – and is usually more effective. A strong media angle is not: ‘why this business is good’. Instead, put the audience first: what are they interested in? Why would what you have to say be important to them? Find the unique, controversial, timely, new perspectives, or strong comments in what you do.
- Stagger stories
An old rule of marketing is that it takes seven mentions of your brand or product before a customer remembers you – others quote a much higher number, which means it’s often more effective to have several pieces of coverage over time instead of one big bang. Over time, you can become memorable and contribute multiple nudges to attract your ideal customer, to guide them into your sales funnel or motivate them to act.
- Think beyond the media release
A media release or news announcement should be reserved for real news. In the absence of worthwhile news, you can still achieve positive media coverage.
A PR agency with good relationships with key media can pitch you as a spokesperson for interviews, or as a case study to be involved in scheduled feature articles and news pieces.
Position yourself or your business as a helpful expert through contributed editorial, or ‘bylined articles’. These are articles providing helpful advice, how-to tips, bold commentary, and explanations. You are attributed as the author with your name attached.
Opinion pieces are similar to bylined articles with the difference being that you are providing your expert opinion on a topic relating to your industry. For example, busting myths, exposing money-wasting schemes, weighing in on issues of the day or creating debate.
Another way you can get media coverage is to offer media case studies. If you have some client case studies where a business has productively used your services, you have the opportunity to offer the media a case study of your business success story.
- Become a thought leader
Through the above methods, you can position yourself as a thought leader. Thought leadership is about far more than making a few LinkedIn posts: it’s about becoming a consistent, valuable source of information for your industry.
A thought leader uses their expertise to share bold positions and advice on best practice, often shedding light on an area that an audience wouldn’t understand.
Chances are, you have a lot of valuable insights just waiting to be written. Then, narrow that down to what you can have an opinion on, based on your experience and expertise. Identify why a topic matters to others and why they would care. Anyone can have an opinion or think they know something that others don’t, but if it doesn’t provide genuine value, it’s basically a self-aggrandising soapbox.
Make sure you have credible proof points. Use case studies, reputable endorsements, research, and well-known connections to prove your expertise.
Choose the right avenues to share your message. Where are the watering holes where your key stakeholders congregate and go to for credible information? Is it webinars, media outlets, seminars, or even monthly emails from other key leaders? Be there.
- Map out your PR content during an unpredictable news cycle
An unpredictable news cycle means being flexible. Timing is everything in PR. While your business may have a date locked in for announcing a key bit of news, it’s important to be flexible and ready to change course should a major story break.
Schedule in what you can. Some nationally recognised days won’t change regardless of external events, so schedule these in early. In order to stand out on these busy days, make sure you’re the most responsive person that a journalist could speak to. Offer excellent imagery as well as photo opps, have a strong spokesperson available, and a case study on hand.
- Learn to newsjack
Newsjacking leverages the news cycle to gain your business awareness or viral attention, and it can be an effective way to get media coverage in between announcements.
Newsjacking is a great way to get into bigger media outlets than you would normally qualify for, because your appeal increases when you can leverage a story that is already big and topical.
- Plan out evergreen content
Evergreen content stays relevant regardless of external factors. It can be worth planning out this kind of content in advance to fill in the gaps between major announcements and campaigns to help to flesh out your content calendar for the year.
Know your media’s downtimes. There are certain times of the year when journalists are more open to evergreen content and bylined articles.
If you can find ways to authentically link your business or brand to a hot news story or evergreen issue, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the media coverage you want.
Prepare for what you say, including your marketing, to be scrutinised and dissected. Everything should be fact checked, with up-to-date and relevant references and examples.
These days, especially in fields such as technology and finance, an allusion to a development from even one or two years ago can feel lacking in relevance. Make sure that, in the eyes of the public, and those of business contemporaries and rivals, your assertions hold up to scrutiny.