It’s a content-first world. Which isn’t to say, however, that traditional PR marketing doesn’t work extremely well anymore. Quite the opposite, in fact. It works extremely well for most modern businesses, and should not be overlooked. Being able to effectively utilize media coverage can completely transform the reputation of your business, making it important to factor into your overall marketing.
People love media. They always have and they always will. As ingest all of the media they love the most, this avenue will remain as a great way to gain visibility. Boost your brand awareness, expand your influence, and create more impact, all for a cost-effective price. With enough work put in, this is an easy way to boost your ROI.
Effective media coverage inspires people to visit your website. Bring them onboard to check out your social media channels, engage with you, and, in a perfect world, do business with you. There’s an inherent trust when it comes to the public and their interactions with the media, and studies show consumers mentioning news media significantly more credibility than any other form of ad or marketing.
By putting your brand in front of the millions of people who frequent major media channels, you’ll reach a wide audience. For a business owner, it’s crucial to leverage media exposure to get ahead. Join us, today, as we bring you a full breakdown of some of the best options for developing your PR and creating a better return on your marketing investment.
Media Coverage Benefits
We’ve touched lightly on the overall benefits of media coverage, but there’s a lot to say about this more traditional marketing avenue. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits:
- Brand credibility: media referrals on high profile news platforms give your business a visibility and brand awareness boost. Get your business in front of an audience, and you’ll drive credibility.
- Standing out: “standing out from the crowd” is the holy grail of all marketing efforts, and media coverage can help you do that. Give yourself something your competitors don’t have, with media coverage as a resource.
- Endorsement Credibility: a mentioned in a credible source will help you establish a third-party endorsement your niche market can trust. Journalists will investigate your work, researching your operation, sharing your branding across their platform, and lending legitimacy to your company.
- Potential Partnerships: With more mentions comes more potential for exposure. Attract new industry partners, bring in potential suppliers, and a few investors, all from organic sources.
- Cost Efficacy: this form of marketing offers a significantly cheaper option than many other advertising avenues. Gain attention through media coverage without paying for much if any of it, and watch your coverage spread. With a little dedication and a lot of hard work, you can gain access to media connections far and wide.
- Attracting Talent: Widespread media coverage does a great job attracting qualified talent.
Clearly, there are numerous benefits to this approach to marketing. Exposing your business to a larger audience is a natural byproduct of media coverage, and the results can be found in your local newspaper or radio ads, right now.
Find The Media Outlet
Looking to lock down media coverage for your company? The first step is to identify which mediums you want to use to cover your brand. Local papers? TV? Internet radio or just the Internet? Try to identify all relevant outlets, then get out there and actively look for contacts. You can also buy contact lists, but that can get a little murky and isn’t typically considered an effective strategy.
- Google search: it may seem common sense, but it works. You can check the names of your competitors and the “news” section of the search. This will show you a list of all the websites that have covered your story. You can search for queries like “Who covers startups in businessinsider?” Or “Who does what in Forbes?” Remember that it is always journalists who cover the story, so this is an effective way to find contacts through Google search.
- Use Google Alerts: This is one of my favorite tools, which allows you to create alerts about relevant keywords. It’s a great strategy to notify you by email every time relevant content is indexed on Google. From here, you can easily find the writer’s information and add it to your list.
- Use Twitter: You can use Twitter search to find relevant hashtags, identify people and follow them. Start interacting with them, click on Like and retweet your posts and, after some good interactions, you can send them a DM and establish a connection. Sometimes, these journalists and influencers will tweet that they are preparing a report, so stay tuned.
- LinkedIn: this is a great place to find new contacts. Start with LinkedIn groups, where there are tons of groups, identify the active groups in your industry and then join them. You can also find writers through the search, follow them, like and comment on their posts, and connect with them. Everyone receives the notification when you send their publications so that, finally, you decide to send them an introductory message. You are more likely to get an answer.
- Help A Reporter Out (HARO): This is probably one of the most innovative services in this space. This website provides the opportunity to connect journalists with the source. Once you register, you will be sent an email three times a day with a list of topics that are currently requested. Journalists outline the subject of the article and what they need from the source. If you qualify or meet any of the requirements, you can respond and possibly receive coverage.
- Professional advice: you will have to send many more emails than one to succeed.
- Local events: Local news often covers local events in your stories, so be sure to involve your brand in these events. Local media love anything that is local.
- Published articles: Find articles published on media websites and consult the writer’s profile, when and where they provide additional information. Often, you will find their information here.
- Call The Media Outlet: this is usually the worst case, when nothing has worked. Try to call the establishment and ask for their information directly. You will be surprised how useful this can be, with company representatives that connect you with the right people.
Also Read: How to Hire A Digital Marketing Agency?
Create a Strong Social Media Presence
Before you do anything, you will need to ensure you have a great online presence for your business. You are going to need to establish a strong social media presence. Some of the channels you should have for your business are:
- Google My Business (If your business is local).
You also have to make sure your business is listed on any and all appropriate directories, especially if it’s a local business. The goal, here, is to show media outlets that you are legit.
Write a Newsworthy Pitch
If you want to win over journalists and get that all-important media coverage, you’ve got to make sure you have a newsworthy pitch. Some of the greatest pitches of all time included:
- Reaching a sales milestone
- Company anniversary
- Introduction of new products, services or new location opening.
- Achieving a industry award
- Notable employee leaving the company or retiring
- Acknowledgment of employee success
If you want to succeed with press releases, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the journalists. If you don’t do that, you risk the chance of your story not being covered.
Another great tip is to research the writer you are pitching to and read through all of their previous publications, fully. This way, you can get an idea of what style you want to make your story with. A mistake many businesses make during their pitch is to pitch the company, products or services, and not their stories.
When you speak to the reporter, don’t beat around the bush. Get straight to the point. Reporters are busy and they don’t have a lot of time. Let them know what it is and why you think it is a good idea. Honesty and transparency can get you far. Reporters get many pitches throughout the week so, if they don’t get back to you right away. try not bugging them by dialing up their number over and over or sending more and more emails. They’ll appreciate your patience and most likely contact you.
Submitting a Press Release Worth It?
Some online sources claim that submitting a press release is the fastest and easiest way to get your story covered. But, from my experience, it’s more effective to strategically pitch the journalists you have identified as a proper fit.
You can use platforms like PR Newswire and PR Webs to submit your press release to thousands of news platforms, all at once, but chances are very low of them actually picking it up and publishing it. From my experience, this kind of work has had very little success. But, on the positive side, it helps your SEO efforts, but not too much.
What makes a great pitch?
Here are the three most important ingredients to make your pitch great:
- Create personalized greeting — Your pitch should be addressed directly to the journalist you are writing to. Do not use the magazine’s name or anything else. Keep it personalized.
- Your Subject Line Must Be Compelling — When pitching via email, make sure your subject line is eye-catching. It must inspire the recipient to open it and read more.
- The body of the pitch — In short, your body must tell the recipient why you are writing them, why should they be interested, your key points, why they need to act fast, and where can they get more information.
Before you send the pitch, make sure you read it back to yourself. Read it as if you were the journalist receiving it. Ask yourself if you would respond to this pitch? If the answer is no, then they probably won’t respond, either.
When is the best time to reach out?
According to BuzzStream research, 69% of journalists prefer to be pitched in the morning. When sending in your pitch, try to send it in earlier than others, so your email is the most recent message in the inbox when they check their email.
When should you follow up if you don’t hear back?
If you don’t hear a response, the appropriate time to follow up is within three-to-five days. Another great tip you can utilize is, after the initial pitch, it’s a great idea to connect with the journalist via social media channels. This can keep you top of their list and they will be more likely to consider your pitch.
Who is not the right fit for media marketing?
Theoretically speaking, anything, anyone or any business can be media worthy. Media coverage is a call-to-action that communicates according to our own standards. Think of yourself from the perspective of a journalist. What would you want/need to provide for your audience? What would stop your audience from clicking away, turning the page, or changing the channel?
Media needs something new and unusual. You can achieve that by focusing on the following steps:
- By seeing what they are already talking about, in the news.
- Bringing a unique perspective to the issue. By saying something totally different from what everyone else is saying or doing.
- Substantiate what you say. Back it up with facts, case studies or proof that what you are saying is the new and the better way etc.
How to stand out from the crowd?
When people refuse to take their time and invest their energy into coming up with something unique, valuable or revolutionary to offer. They normally default to sensationalism and clickbait. That is child’s play and actually tires people out. After having to deal with clickbaits, clickbaits, and more clickbaits, no wonder it makes some people not want to bother with the media at all.
Unfortunately, in this crowded market, if you are not coming up with copy, stories and offerings that offer unique, valuable or revolutionary insights, then you’re just another swimmer in a pool of clickbait.
So what do we do about this? Dive in, do your research, and find the value you offer. Whether it’s in telling stories that matter or providing and representing offers and brands that make a difference in people’s lives, these are the things that change the world.
This might sound a little naive to you, but the only antidote for fake or clickbait/sensationalism is value. You’ve got to touch people’s hearts and their souls. People are waking up from their pessimistic slumber, every day, and giving them the hope to care again.
Also Read: Different Types of Advertising Methods
Must haves for building the strong brand presence
I have simplified this into four basic but important steps when building a strong brand presence:
- Find a real problem that people or businesses have.
- Provide a newer, better solution to that problem.
- Articulate both the problem and the solution in a way that the target audience feels like you’re inside their head.
- Disseminate what you’re saying far and wide. Remember if you don’t get your message in front of people, they’ll never know you’ve got a solution to their problem.
How to hire a quality PR Agency?
Let’s say you don’t want to have PR responsibilities and you’ve decided that it’s too much of a headache for you. You have two choices: hire an inhouse PR representative or hire a PR agency. Normally, it costs more to have an inhouse person than to hire an agency but, with so many agencies trying to take your money and not get things done the way you need, how do you hire one that won’t screw you over?
At one point, I was involved in a Kickstarter where a so-called “reputable” PR agency was retained in order to gain exposure for $9k in media and press fees. They’d had successful projects in the past and boasted an awesome portfolio, but ended up getting only two low level websites to cover their project. They tried to get a refund, but couldn’t secure it.
With PR agencies, even the best, most reputable businesses around can’t ever guarantee their results. The most reputable names around have built relationships with media professionals, honing and refining their pitching skills to bring in results for their clients.
None of that, however, can guarantee they can actually do something for the client. This can come down to what else is happening in the news at the time, what journalists have on their plates, who the competition is, and what they bring to the table. This doesn’t factor in what the journalist is actually dealing with, among the numerous other factors that can’t even be calculated. It’s insanely difficult to understand why your pitches do or don’t get responses.
PR firms and publicists were giving me nothing back when it came to value. I was frustrated to see my investments hurting like this, but PR firms require up to six months from their retainer, so I kept on.
Ultimately, using a PR firm or publicist to market your business isn’t for everyone. Waiting around for results can be difficult, even if the results have been well documented. Check out a few client testimonials, compare them to yours, and get ready for the long run.
Always Remember: PR Isn’t Magic
Good marketing comes down to hard work, no matter how you slice it. There is no magical shortcut to awesome results, even with the heavy hitter that is PR. If you want to create public relations marketing that works, you need the same classic elements you always did: quality business relationships and verifiable credibility built over time.