Let’s get right to it!
The most effective and popular PR tactic is MEDIA RELATIONS.
It’s quite simple, media relations gets you media coverage! This is a tried and true tactic used by all PR consultants around the world. Here’s what every PR person knows:
There are 5 proven steps that will get your brand in the news – I refer to this as the AMO FORMULA.
AUDIENCE+ MESSAGE + OUTREACH = MEDIA COVERAGE!
STEP 1. Know your audience.
This is a crucial first step. By honing in on who your audience is, who is going to benefit from your product or service, you will know which media you need to target.
Make a list of all the demographics to whom you’d like to promote your business. You may only think of one core group, or you may have a variety in mind. Do you cater to affluent women, families, men only, children, single millennials? Who is your ideal audience? Who will benefit most from your service or product? Narrow this down first.
Monitor your social media accounts. For example, if you have an Instagram account, take note of who is engaging with you. Which demographic are you getting the most “follows”, “likes” or “comments” from? Those who are most engaged are your true audience. Leveraging your social media platforms to cast the net out wide and see who you connect with is an excellent way to identify your audience.
STEP 2. Know your Story.
The story behind your business is the most powerful tool you have when it comes to promoting your business. It is your differentiating factor. It will help you stand out in a saturated, competitive market. Put time into crafting it. For it to resonate with your audience, your story needs to be compelling. Attention grabbing. Inspiring. Try this exercise:
Grab a pen and jot down the following:
- What is the WHY behind your business? Why does your company exist?
- What problem are you solving?
- What value do you bring?
- What sets you a part from your competitor?
- How would society be at a loss if your business ceased to be?
- What is your impact on your community, or society at large?
- What transformation do you bring to your consumer?
Not only does your business need a story, but so do YOU, the business owner. PR is about making connections through stories that evoke an emotion within, and nothing connects or moves us like a good human interest story.
Jot down your exceptional qualities to formulate your story. Dig as deep as you can and be honest with yourself.
- What are the experiences in your life that propelled you to start this business?
- What makes you the best person to deliver the message behind your brand?
- What about your character traits can help to empower others?
- How has your business changed you and why should the world know about it and you?
Your story is the framework of any bite size messaging you develop moving forward regarding any of your professional initiatives. As you craft it, think about how you serve the community versus your bottom line.
STEP 3. Know your news.
To be in the news, you have to keep up with the news. You have to stay informed regarding what is happening within your community to current events globally.
Make a connection between what is happening within the microcosm of your businesses to the great global microcosm. This makes you RELEVANT. The most newsworthy angles are ALWAYS timely. Making this connection will make your pitch stand out.
You can make your outreach as simple as with a press release, or an email pitch, or as dramatic as an out-of-the-box media package, a PR stunt, or another big event to garner media attention.
The more creative your outreach, the better the chances of your message sticking, regardless of whether you are pitching a launch, a new product, service, or just an update.
Here are some helpful hints on how to write a powerful pitch:
Write the story, as you would like to see it appear in the news, for your reporter, headline included! Reporters are busy, make their life easier by giving them the option to hijack your story straight from your email.
Put on your reporter hat. If you were a reporter, what would you like to see in the perfect pitch? Write it with the reporters perspective in mind including WHY, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW. Does your pitch align with your reporter’s niche?
PROOF READ. Make sure there are no spelling, grammatical, or punctuation mistakes! Careless mistakes toss your credibility out the window!
Create a checklist:
- Is your pitch newsworthy?
- Is it timely?
- Does is address a conflict or problem?
- Is there heart in it? Is there human interest?
- Does it impact your target demo?
- Is it geographically relevant?
- Is there a level of prominence, exclusivity, or celebrity to your story?
- Does your pitch align with your reporter’s niche?
Keep in mind a well-executed a pitch isn’t just about “one and done”. You want to nurture a relationship with your media contacts that facilitates continual coverage. Often times, when a reporter covers your story once, it is highly likely they will do it again.
STEP 4. Know your reporters.
Building relationships with your target media gives you the best chance of getting your story published. Keep in mind reporters get countless pitches and press releases per day. How are you going to make yours stand out? For starters, if you already have a relationship in place with your target contact, then you are miles ahead of everyone else. You know your email will get read.
Make a list of all the media outlets you would like to pitch – make sure to include all the niche ones that speak to your audience first. Niche publications are always easier to get coverage in than bigger outlets.
Once you’ve selected your media, search them up on the internet to find their contact info. Populate your media list with all their contact information. Niche publications are always easier
Research your target reporters and make contact long before your pitch. The idea is… they are complete strangers, and before you ask them a favour, you want to have established a connection first. One great way to do this is to follow them on SM and comment on their niche, interests, etc… Twitter and Linked In seem to be the SM platform of choice for reporters. Do follow up after a few days if you haven’t heard back.
If they decline, look at it as an opportunity to have connected, and do pitch him/her again in the future.
If YES, make sure you are ready in every way! Is your website up to date? Is your messaging on point and interview ready? Do you have your media materials ready to be sent?
Even after you’ve been featured, make sure to keep in touch periodically so your connection stays strong.
STEP 5. Know your plan
Media traction comes with a well laid plan and consistent effort.
How many times have I heard, “I want to do PR, I need PR, I just don’t know where to start – I feel stuck.” Or, “I just don’t have the time.” Well you do have the time, you have to make the time. And the solution to getting started is having a strategy. You need a PR plan. You can’t just throw spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks.
Identify clear goals and reasonable objectives - don’t aim for being featured on Oprah right off the bat, start with the niche and local newspapers, then leverage your coverage and watch it snowball.
Make a list of action items as a step by step guide – this will help you in not only staying focused and on track when conducting your media relations, but other public relations tactics as well.
When formulating your plan, keep in mind your ultimate mission, your objectives, your audience, your messaging, your target media and outreach tactics.
Write your mission at the top of your PR Plan – think about how are you serving the community versus your bottom line. The transformation you are offering must be authentic and altruistic to trigger an emotional response from your audience.
Stick to your AMO FORMULA and you will see the traction happen!
AUDIENCE+ MESSAGE + OUTREACH = MEDIA COVERAGE!
We’ve scratched the surface here. There is so much more to unpack and have fun with in the world of PR! We cover the gamut!
Join me on THE PR PROPELLOR (coming soon!) where I provide lessons, templates, outlines and easy step by step PR guidelines on how to transform your business from being right on the cusp, to full throttle success!!