Having been in the practice of media relations (public relations) for forty years, I can usually guarantee a placement in media outlets – if my clients will give me their attention and provide what I need. This might sound egotistical; but with the extensive experience that I have under my belt, I can tell you that if you want media coverage, you have to pursue it; and there are no shortcuts.
New clients come to me because they want to “get the word out” and then they have specific ideas about what they want done. I listen, ask them to set some goals, give them my advice which always includes the full scope of marketing techniques – not just public relations. Sometimes – this is where we part company. Why? — Because I recognize that if I do what they specifically ask, and do what they tell me do to, they will not see the results they want. And, surprisingly, our difference may not be about fee – it is, however, about strategy.
Since most of my clients want to be in the news, here is a portion of my strategy for getting media placement – that usually works.
1. Start with a great media database, germane to the demographics you need (not want) to reach; If you use effective “PR” practices there will be special contacts that recognize the name. You need more than one contact per media outlet.
2. Prepare an effective press release, 1 ½ pages (no more); and do not bury the headline for your ego gratification.
3. If you are promoting an event, prepare a one-page media advisory that clearly spells out the what, when, where, when, who, and sometimes why.
4. Remember TV wants/needs a visual. If you can identify a good visual (not talking heads) include this in your media advisory. Sometimes the “who” can be the visual if the personality is news worthy.
5. Distribute the press release to wire services, community and ethnic publications seven working days before the event – no exceptions. Always send a jpeg photo (no larger than 1mg).
6. Distribute the press release to daily publications, TV and radio five days before the event.
7. Attempt to make contact with daily print journalists to determine if they like your story; if so, ask them to send a photographer.
8. Call your special media contacts, or text them, to verify they received your material. Try to get feedback as to whether or not they can cover the story. Don’t argue if the answer is no.
9. On the day before the event, distribute the media advisory – paste it into the body of the email.
10. On the day of the event, rise early (7:00 a.m.) and redistribute the media advisory to the assignment desks at TV and radio. Call the assignment desks to see if they have it.
11. Keep handy the phone numbers of the four local TV networks and call to see if an assignment has been made to cover your event.
12. If no one shows up at your event, all is not lost. Take good action pictures and be able to provide the names of the people in the photo. Revise the press release to “after” event news and distribute – the same day if possible – to community and ethnic press and some radio that can use the story on line.
13. Always post the “after event” press release with photos on line.
14. If you are trying to get news into the media about a product, personality, situation, etc. (not an event) the strategy is different. However, it all starts with a good database, a good press release, and lots of follow up. No short cuts.
For more detail about my strategies, you can retain First Class, Inc. OR use the services of an effective public relations agency that leaves no stone unturned in order to get a placement.