We all want to draw in more attention to our business, organization or non-profit.
It sounds easy enough! Author a press release, send it off to a few local media sources and wait for the phone to ring. But in reality, capturing attention from mass media sources is insanely frustrating. To us, our story is definitely newsworthy. We have an awesome product, idea or service to share, and a newspaper or local radio station would be crazy not to take advantage of a hot lead they didn’t even have to search for!
News outlets are looking for just that…news. The way in which we present our story needs to answer their question of, “What’s in it for me?”
Why is it worth their time and energy to provide you with FREE and widely disseminated publicity?
Newspapers and radio stations have to review your submission and determine if it will be liked by their audience of readers, listeners and subscribers. Your news has to affect their lives. Will it educate, and more importantly entertain them?
Here are seven ways to increase media attention.
1. Define their obsession
The old rule of thumb was that if you wanted to get your story published, it had to cover sex, money, health or scandal. In today’s age of niche based media, your story has to simply relate to their audience. If you want to build up media appeal, be sure to research your source, and define what gets their audience excited. What information do they just have to have? Then, draft your release to pair your business with that exact need or want.
2. Cut to the chase
There’s no need to pitch your life’s story to a reporter. Keep your message short and simple. Concentrate on providing them with the selling points. Reporters’ inboxes are filled to the brim with requests for media coverage. They may only have a few seconds to glance at your content, so be brief and compelling.
3. Don’t focus on YOU
It’s easy to create a release that puts you (me or I) in the spot light, but you’ll achieve more success if you clearly define how you are helping and connecting others. The media wants to cover stories that make an impact on the masses. How is your story going to serve the needs of the many rather than just a few? To start, think about what you offer and follow that thought up by finishing this sentence, “And this product, service or cause will help…”
Repeat that process until you have at least ten groups of individuals who will benefit from your offering.
4. Include snippets of past media coverage
If your story has been picked up in the past, be sure to include a link, article or recording with your release or email. This will create trust and proof that your story is genuine. Be sure to include the contact names and numbers of your sources in case the recipient of your request wants to verify your credentials. If you’ve been interviewed on television before, how you appear and act on camera will help the reporter decided whether or not you will appeal to their audience.
5. News jacking
News jacking is a term used to describe the process of linking your story with one that is currently receiving an awesome amount of media attention. If you can tie-in your own message with a story that is making national news, and the link is compelling and credible enough to work with, news reporters will jump all over it just to become part of the buzz!
This also helps that particular paper or radio station garner traffic to their website. If the article and headline contain keywords that are being used as Google search terms to unearth the details behind that hard-hitting national story, their site will be ranked higher on the Google results page.
6. Make their job easier
Be sure to make it easy for the reporter to get in touch with you, validate your sources and write the article. Don’t make them have to search around on their own! Reporters love when the story writes itself. When submitting your release, be prepared to answer their questions as if they were to call instantly. Don’t wait until after you send the release to do research on your topic.
If you are writing to introduce them to a new revolutionary product your company is about to launch, you’d better know that product inside and out. The last thing you want to happen, is for a reporter to call you and you respond with, “I’ll have to get back to you on that. Can I call you later?”
7. Include pictures and videos
Pictures and videos are a great way to make your story more impactful. If you are trying to build some buzz around your non-profit, be sure to attach a video of yourself interviewing one of the recipients of a check your organization was able to donate after their house burned down. Send pictures of small children playing soccer on a new field that was funded through your clubs dedication to improving the quality of life for families in third-world countries. Pictures and video evoke emotions that are unbiased indicators of a great story.
We live in a world where everyone has the ability to share news. Podcasting, texting and tweeting have turned almost anyone into breaking news reporter. But newspapers and radio stations still rule when it comes to public trust. People have an easier time believing what they read in the paper before they’ll get on board with what’s written in a Facebook post.
Getting your story on to their pages or airwaves is not easy, but in your pursuit to attract new eyes to your cause, it’s well worth the effort! Just remember to be genuine, be honest and your passion will shine through. And if all else fails, hire a celebrity.
Celebrity endorsements still pack a serious punch!
P.S. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts. I hope that they are helping you better promote your business. If there’s anything you need from me, never hesitate to ask. You call me at 815.441.2219 or email [email protected].
Thanks again for being awesome!
photo credit: KellyB. via photopin cc