10 Tips for Gaining Media Coverage.

As regular readers will know last week I delivered a talk to Ealing’s Fabulous Women on ‘How to Kickstart your business in 2013.’ I decided that I should practice what I preach so wrote a news release which I sent to a couple of local media and, woo hoo, Ealing Today published my story today! You can read it here.

So here are some tips to help you get some media coverage for your business.

  1. Make sure you have a story and not a sales pitch.                                           My News Release didn’t just discuss my talk but also what else had happened in the meeting. There were plugs for two other named businesses as well as Fabulous Women but they were not sales pitches. Journalists will not be your salesman and might pass your release to the advertising department.
  2. Offer photos.                                                                                                     If you have decent relevant photos that you can include, offer them either by including them with your release or telling the journalist that they are available. Try to make the photos interesting, men in suits with a big cheque is boring. Richard Branson is great at finding ways to generate good photos with his PR. See an example here.
  3. Match your story to the media.                                                                                            Journalists are inundated with press releases; they will only look at those which are relevant to their readership so you might need to tweak your release for different targets. For example, a local paper will want the local angle whereas a women’s magazine would want to know what the story has to do with women.
  4. Prioritise your story.                                                                           Typically journalists will cut an article from the bottom up so the most important information needs to be in the opening paragraph. Expand the story in the next couple of paragraphs and finish with a quote which can be from you. This means that your release could appear in the latest news snippets or similar column, or be given much more space depending what other stories you are competing with.
  5. Follow the rules for Press Releases.                                                     Keep it short and focused (one story per release). Date it and make it clear when it can be used; you can send it ahead of time and embargo until a specific date and time (though that can sometimes go wrong as M&S found out yesterday when Sky published their quarter three results 12 hours early!). Give contact details for follow up, preferably a mobile ‘phone number. Give extra information in Notes for Editors to allow the journalist to put their own slant on the article.
  6. Be prepared for the journalist’s call.                                                            Think what sort of questions the journalist might have and be ready with your answers. Don’t give out information you don’t want to read in the media! The journalist might have a different idea about what makes a good story! Bad news always features more prominently than good.
  7. Send your release in the body of the email not just as an attachment. Many journalists are reluctant to open attachments from people they don’t know in case they carry a virus. Including your message in the body of the email means it is seen, and hopefully read, more easily and still allows the journalist to cut and paste.
  8. Send your release to a named journalist.                                            Increase your chances of publication by sending your release to the right person and by name if possible. Most papers include email addresses for individual journalists together with information about what they write about. Do your research, who writes for the audience you are targeting?
  9. Build relationships with journalists.                                                        You increase your chances of coverage if you have a relationship with the journalist. You could start on Twitter. Re-tweet their stories. Send them links to information that might be useful to them. Respond to their requests for help when you can (sometimes that could give exposure to your business). Introduce yourself when you have an opportunity. I regularly meet with the editor of Ealing Today at Ealing Tweetups.
  10. Learn how to get your business in the media.                                                 My friend, Carole Ann Rice of the Real Coaching Co. runs regular Media Mastery Workshops. These always get great feedback. See her website for details of the next one.

Good luck with increasing the profile of your business. If you would like to see the News Release that generated the media coverage that prompted this article please email me.


3 thoughts on “10 Tips for Gaining Media Coverage.

  1. I edit my university’s newsletter and I automatically delete about half the press releases I’m sent and only act on a very tiny percentage.
    Common problems with press releases I get sent include:
    -a press release about something happening on another continent (e.g. art exhibition in India, an invite to a mundane event at the New York stock exchange)
    -being sent information too early (I got sent a PR about a Valentine’s food event before Hallowe’en). This works for monthly mags but not fortnightly newspapers
    -an email calling my newspaper a magazine/getting the newspaper’s name wrong/getting my name wrong
    -being sent irrelevant information (sending press releases about kitchens to a student newspaper)
    -continuing to spam me with press releases after I’ve said we’re not interested
    -sending an advert without offering us anything (e.g. ‘my film is coming out. It is £10’ and not offering interviews/press tickets/competition prizes etc)

    The press releases that are likely to get a response are addressed to me/my newspaper, are often linked to something we’ve already published (‘I saw you published a piece about this student start up so I thought you might be interested in mine…’) and have something to offer us (ideally exclusively) such as shadowing police officers, free tickets etc.

  2. Hi Glenda

    Happy New Year to you and the family.

    Congratulations on the press release. I was sorry I could not make the meeting, there is always such a great vibe in the room.

    If you are free for coffee it would be good to catch-up.

    Best Wishes


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