Thinking of contacting journalists or employing a PR agency but not sure if media coverage is right for you?
Securing high profile attention can reap rewards for your business – get people talking about it, bring in new customers and boost your website’s search rankings. However, because it is high profile, there are several questions you need to ask yourself before you pick up the phone.
Are you flexible?
Can you be and are you prepared to be flexible to the needs of journalists and editors? If you have one story, one angle, one agenda, chances are you will be so fixed on your own goals that you will miss opportunities. If you send out a press release or story idea to a newspaper and the journalist replies to say they like the idea but want to cover it from a different angle, what would you say? If you say no, you are likely to miss out on the coverage.
Are you thick-skinned?
Most of us cringe when we read what we said or hear our voices played back to us. Being in the media is a whole different ball game. You get your story in the national media and you are thrilled however as you scroll down ‘below the line’ on the website, you come across lots of direct and perhaps aggressive ‘feedback’ in the comments section. People you meet say they’ve seen you on the news and may make barbed comments behind your back. So, are you thick-skinned enough to brush off the trolls? If not, you need to learn to ignore them or laugh at them or forget seeking media coverage.
Are you patient?
I don’t have enough digits to count how many times I’ve waited, chased, waited, chased, waited and chased journalists. It’s not uncommon to wait three to six months to get the national media coverage you want as editors inevitablly fill space with other stories, more pressing news or your ideas just get lost in inboxes. Patience and polite tenacity are required. If you want results yesterday, forget media.
When to forget media coverage
You don’t really get PR
There are no guarantees with PR. You are ultimately at the behest of the editor and if they don’t take a fancy to your story, you’re screwed. Even a brilliant PR person will only get results nine times out of ten and you need to be prepared that you might be that one time. So, if you want to promote your business and want guaranteed results for your money, I suggest you advertise it. Just remember, you will pay a lot more for advertising.
You don’t know what you want people to know about your business
Within every media story, there are key messages you want the audience and your potential customers to know. You are experienced, you are the best in the region, you are exclusive etc. When you approach the media, you need to retain a degree of control over the message you share to make it work for you. After all, that is why you are ‘giving’ a story to the media. So, spend some time thinking about what your key messages are and how your story demonstrates them (in creative writing, this called ‘show don’t tell).
You don’t have a story
The final and most obvious you would think – is your ‘story’ an actual tantilising piece of information or is it about as interesting as a sack of wet mud. Are you rebranding your website? Do you have new shop sign? Did you raise £10.50 for blandcharity.com? Try telling this to your friends, family and people who will be honest with you. Do their eyes light up with fascination and do they ask you loads of questions about it? No? Forget it. If it doesn’t tickle them, it won’t interest a journalist and it won’t beguile the readers or viewers.
So, you’ve asked yourself these questions. You’re flexible, thick-skinned and patient and ready to go ahead. Good for you. Time to crack on.