There is a lot more to public relations than crafting the perfect press release. Relationship building, pitching, list building and maintenance are all part of garnering coverage. Finally, it all comes together, and a reporter is interested in what you have to say. Hooray! Let’s explore four ways to make the most of earned media opportunities.
Step 1: Be Ready
News today happens faster than ever, and media outlets are challenged to produce timely and relevant coverage as quickly as possible. This means journalists are working under very tight deadlines. You need to be ready.
If a story about an E. coli outbreak is trending, and a reporter is looking for a local expert to provide commentary, they will put out a query to their sources. Typically, they go with the one who has the fastest availability. If that’s not you, you’ve missed the opportunity. Even worse, if the reporter realizes you are rarely available, they’ll take you off their list completely.
Step 2: Be Relevant
Once you’ve secured an interview, take some time to prepare. If you’re addressing breaking news, read up on the topic so you can comment on the latest information. Provide concise commentary that will work well in sound bites or quotes. Also, try not to use industry jargon or terminology that won’t be understood by the audience.
Journalists who don’t have expertise in your field often appreciate a short introduction or overview of the topic prior to the interview. Be aware, however, that a reporter may use comments you make before or after the interview, so keep that in mind throughout the engagement.
Media coverage is an aligning of two interests. The reporter wants content that is of interest and value to their audience. You want your company positioned as an expert in your field. Fortunately, there can be a very large overlap between these objectives; that’s the sweet spot you are aiming for.
Step 3: Be Open to Opportunities
Opportunities abound for coverage beyond conventional news, including blog sites for virtually every industry and special interest. If you have a local business, you may think you only want local news coverage, but there can be great value in thinking bigger.
For example, say you are a local pest control company, and you have the chance to comment about hidden termite damage for an article on a national real estate website. While the content may not be delivered solely to your local market, it still helps position you as a subject matter expert in your field.
In addition, the content helps to increase your website’s SEO in several ways: the media site will likely link to your website, which search engines like to see. Then you can (and should) share the link to the coverage on your site and social media channels, which is also seen as a plus by search engines. In fact, you should share links to any positive coverage featuring your business on your website and social media channels.
Step 4: Be Prepared
Media opportunities can be intimidating for some people. A little advance preparation can help you feel confident in your subject matter and more relaxed when responding to questions. If you will be on camera, check your appearance in the mirror to ensure you look neat and pulled together.
Pro tip: You can’t always control whether a media outlet will mention the name of your company. If you’ll be on camera, and it’s possible and appropriate, wear something branded with your company name or logo (such as a jacket, vest or shirt), or suggest an interview location in front of something with your company name.
Need help garnering media opportunities or making the most of them? Contact us today.