Earned Media Coverage: Myths and Must Haves

Media coverageMedia coverage- the Golden Goose of your public relations efforts. A non-paid endorsement…it doesn’t get better than that. People trust media coverage infinitely more than paid advertising or any other sales tool.

Media coverage can help launch your startup without costing too much, raise your brand awareness/recognition- which can lead to increased everything, especially sales- and can actually help great talent find you when they are looking for jobs.

But getting media coverage is not easy. To give yourself the best shot, make sure you don’t get caught in these three myths about media coverage:

  • Sending my News Will Get Me Coverage-You know how awesome your business is, so it’s easy to see how people fall for this myth. Simply sending your news to a publication isn’t a guarantee that you will be covered. Editors receive thousands of emails every day, and they ignore most of it. It takes a lot more than a press release to spark a reporter’s interest.
  • My latest offering/deal/service/store opening/etc is newsworthy- Unfortunately, no matter how great your company is, unless you’re a multi-national mega-brand, not everything you do is newsworthy. You’ve got to really think about what is “newsworthy.” What is interesting enough to get people to read about it? Imagine it wasn’t your business, what would you like to hear/read about? If you really think your latest news is indeed newsworthy, try coming up with a unique angle that might help others to see the value as well.
  • An interested journalist is on my time schedule- Journalists are busy people with sharp deadlines being pushed at them, don’t make the mistake of thinking they have tons of time to wait for email responses, interviews and other requested information. Stay in contact with them throughout the process of getting your coverage published. If you don’t have something right away, let them know you are working on it and will get it to them ASAP.

So what should you do? While getting media attention is difficult, there are things you can do to stand out from the crowd and land your first mention. Here’s a few of the “must-dos”:

  • Do Your Research-We’re not just talking about carefully finding which target publications you want to try and get into, but also the importance of researching which journalists already write about topics that relate to your company. Taking the time to do your homework, and then to create a mutually beneficial relationship can really pay off in the end. You are more likely to get coverage when you send it and if they can’t cover you, they may know someone who can and point you in their direction.
  • Persistence is Key-Too many people, especially those just starting out in a small business give pitching a few tries and when they continually strike out, they give up. You may have to pitch hundreds of reporters each time you have news before you get coverage, but the end result is worth it… remember how customers trust it over ANY other sales tool? We know it can be a painful, painstaking process, but don’t give up after only a few tries. If you’ve tried hundreds of times and still no one is taking your bait, then you need to change your tactics. Try a new story angle, or new pitch. And don’t forget to follow up. A phone call the next day can make all the difference. Perhaps the journalist was interested in your story, but got caught up in something else and didn’t have time to follow through. Try and make their job as easy for them as possible if you want them to cover you.
  • Know your stuff-You need to know your spokesperson’s availability for interviews before you start pitching to the media. Make sure you know the ins and outs of your news so you can answer any questions journalists might have when they show an interest. You never want to leave a reporter waiting for you. By the time you catch up, they’ll have moved on to the next idea.

Pitching news can be a hard and time consuming task, but the end goal is worth all the work. It can seem a daunting task and we’d love to help you out with your media coverage goals. Remember even after you get covered, the work isn’t over. Make the most of your coverage by properly leveraging it on your web site and marketing efforts. What have you found to be most effective for getting media coverage?

About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.
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