“Can you get this into the media?” - This is a common question that PR professionals get from their internal stakeholders. Earned media is not easy but it gives your brand credibility.
So, let’s talk about how to work with the media.
To start with, you’ve got this exciting new product and you want to tell the world. It is, after all, the greatest thing since sliced bread. And more importantly, your business or product stakeholders think that it should be splashed across all media outlets and you’re ready to hand your story over to them.
But wait, you did this last month, and the month before but you didn’t get much traction in the news for your announcements. Now, you’re wondering what you can do to turn things around and get the most media coverage for your press release.
Here are 3 great tips for gaining earned media:
1. Respect every media and each journalist or blogger.
Every media is different, has their own niche, each reporter, columnist or blogger has his or her own interest.
Do your research before pitching to the media. Your story angle has to be clear and how will it fit into what the publication or journalist has been putting out to their readers? What’s special about what you’re pitching to them? For instance, in the case of Avery Dennison, a global maker of labelling products, the company worked on a recycling programme aimed at delivering zero waste to landfills by collaborating with beauty giant, L’Oréal, and Wasteflex, a local waste management company in Australia. Media interest in this announcement went beyond Australia!
So, take time to do research and work out your story before pitching to the media. Study what your target publications cover, browsing through various columns to identify the right reporters to pitch your story to.
2. Don’t treat the media as your friends.
Just like you have your role, responsibilities and targets to fulfil, so do they. They are looking for engaging, thought-provoking and fresh news stories for their readers.
By taking the effort to read their work and offering them a fresh angle, you’re making their work easier, and hence, they’ll be more receptive to your pitch.
Customise your story pitch to each reporter you approach to maximise your efforts and have the confidence level that they will be interested in your story!
- Never say “can you run this story as a favour?”. It’s disrespectful as it makes a journalist feel as if they are your corporate newsletter, publishing everything you send their way.
- Never say “don’t run this story” especially if it’s a negative news about your company or organisation. Actually, once they hear these words, then they probably will (even if they weren’t planning to otherwise). You’ll just end up with a crisis communications matter to deal with.
3. “Let me buy you lunch.”
Do not use lunch as quid pro quo to score media coverage.
In fact, culturally, this is frowned upon in some Asia Pacific markets where there are legislation on media entertainment. Take South Korea for instance, an anti-graft law known as the Improper Solicitations and Graft Prohibition Act (or the "Kim Young Ran Law" named after the former Supreme Court justice who proposed the Act) took effect on Sept 28, 2016 in which food, drinks and snacks cannot exceed 30,000 Korean Won (about USD $25.50) per person.
If it’s difficult to remember which markets will or will not accept lunch, just remember one thing:
Your lunch isn’t going to pay their bills or make their jobs easier or better.
Use lunch meetings to know your journalist or blogger well. For instance, if you’ve been in touch for a while, it will be great to meet with the journalist or blogger for lunch or coffee to get to know them and their organisations better and to figure out how you can work together for future stories. After all, they’re not robots!
From PR event planning to coverage reports
We have customisable training programmes for in-house communications professionals! Our one-day training programme empowers in-house communications staff (perhaps they have focused on digital communications, internal communications, etc) to engage with their local media for great results.
Vermilion Pinstripes are experts in creating holistic PR strategies to help you thrive and build business confidence.
Image credit: Header image from Unsplash @sammcghee and Blog image from Unsplash @drew_hays