Media relations, simply put, is the business of building and growing reputations. One of the strengths of media coverage is that its free and gives great credibility because it is written by a third party, namely a journalist. But media relations does not simply end with an interview or article published. It is important to then use this media coverage to create opportunity for your business.
Here are ten tips for maximising the power of media coverage once you have gained it.
1. The Power of Momentum.
Once one media outlet picks up on a story then others are also likely to run with the issue and look for new angles. Always look to a range of media outlets covering many different mediums. The power of momentum utilises the strengths of all, for example radio, print, TV and Internet. Radio acts immediately and is in competition to find updates to stories as they happen whereas print news sources will be more likely to find extra facts, perhaps a feature article or biography depending on deadlines involved.
2. Maintain a positive, helpful attitude towards the media.
Remember the media is a people business. Build relationships with key people covering areas within your field of expertise. Always co-operate and respect deadline pressure. Remember you are not the only person trying to gain media attention and failure to return calls or providing poor information may result in journalists chasing another story.
2. Get reprints of print articles.
One of the most cost effective ways of leveraging media coverage is to ask the publisher permission to run extra copies of your article as a reprint. Reprints can be used as handouts or to send to clients and prospects. Being endorsed by the publication strengthens the reputation of your company.
3. Record radio interviews.
If you are going into a radio studio to conduct a live interview always take a blank cassette tape with you or minidisk. Ask permission for the station to record your interview. Then make copies of the interview to handout free to prospects or clients. Remember the radio station retains copyright of the interview so you cannot sell it for commercial gain. You can only make copies to give away for free.
4. Customise articles for specific industries.
One of the hardest things about writing articles is developing your main theme and a logical argument. Once you have done this it is a relatively easy process to customise articles for different industries. Identify few and effective key messages and package them well with examples rather then trying to include too many and complicating the article and making it difficult to read.
5. Encourage syndication.
If you are writing articles for a specialist trade magazine ask the editor if they syndicate articles to other magazines. Often smaller publications are syndicated to others who may share similar target markets. If the opportunity arises to have your article syndicated be sure to tailor it accordingly, perhaps take a different angle and ask the editor if you are unsure. Sometimes strong relationships come from asking simple questions and identifying opportunities.
6. Use existing success to leverage into new markets.
Give your story credibility by highlighting previous successful campaigns or current examples that the media can identify with. For example of you have had strong media support from one state and wish to enter a different state's market explain the previous success in your approach, the media will be more likely to support something that has been identified with previously then to risk the unknown.
7. Offer to be available to take talkback.
Always offer radio stations the opportunity to come into the studio and take talkback. This gives you more airtime and the ability to position yourself as an expert. Engaging with talkback callers is a great way to lift your profile, share your knowledge and help the station make great radio.
8. Offer to write a regular column.
If you have a range of ideas and can turn this into regular articles - why not break your expertise up by writing a regular column in a magazine. This will position you further as an expert and regularly put you in front of readers as well as strengthening your relationship with the publication.
9. Turn your articles into chapters of a book.
One of the most powerful ways of leveraging regular articles is to re-write them for a book. This has a double benefit. You get the discipline and practise of writing articles and then this provides the basis for a book.
10. Use local businesses as an outlet for your product.
If you are going into a new market with a new product or service research what local distribution channels there are. When you gain media coverage for one of your products in a new market - for example a new book - immediately find a local bookstore in the catchment area of that media outlet and approach them to distribute your book. Then mention this business in your media interview. This has a powerful effect in creating a win-win situation for both the local business and you. They get free publicity and you get a local advocate for your product.
Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries. You can subscribe by visiting http://www.8mmedia.com. Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. Visit Tom's blog at http://www.8mmedia.blogspot.com