In my previous post, I covered three ways to make friends with the media:
- Do your homework.
- Fine-tune your message.
- Contact the media the way they want to be contacted.
Here are some more tips.
Make their job easy.
Do a lot of the media’s work for them. Research the marketplace and be ready to provide statistics, trend information and other resources. If your story warrants, prepare video and other visuals.
Have good spokespeople available including (depending on your industry) market analysts, internal marketing people, customers, “gurus,” salespeople and other knowledgeable resources.
For example, I often connect editors with camp directors as part of my work with the American Camp Association Northern California section. In so doing, I help the editors get the background and local color they need, while definitely increasing the chances that the article will include the organization’s important messages.
Respect the media’s time.
When calling editors, quickly give them your 20-second pitch, and then ask if they are interested. If they say yes, ask whether they want to discuss it further then, or whether you should e-mail information or set up another time to talk.
If they are not interested, ask what you could change that would make the pitch interesting for them. Many people won’t know, but some may suggest something.
Get back to the media quickly with any information they request. Sometimes it’s enough to let them know that you’re working on it.
For example, an editor said he needed to talk to my client within two hours. Unfortunately, my client was not available. I explained that situation and gave an approximate time when the two of them could connect. Suddenly it was okay to talk to my client later in the day. The editor felt confident he would get the information he needed and ended up quoting my client several times in the article.
Remember the 80/20 rule.
Eighty percent of your coverage will come from 20 percent of the reporters and editors. Decide who is most important to you and pay close attention to them. Read their articles and blogs, watch and listen to their programs regularly. Contact them regularly with information, story ideas or other resources.
I hope this helps. I will cover more tips in my next post. In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you have successfully made friends with the media.