How to Get Media Coverage for Your Story

Have a great story to tell? Or maybe there’s a major event that you want to help publicize? Entering the media circus can feel daunting, but even in the age of 24/7 multimedia coverage there are a few simple best practices that will make the media notice you.

Create a targeted media list

Sometimes it’s best to go big by starting small. Consider what it is you want to share and the audience you most want to reach. Use this information to develop your media list. It will be easier to pitch and place stories that feel well-suited to the publication or outlet.

As you are picking the right forum, you’ll want to think about the format (print, radio, podcast, blog, or TV), scope (local, regional, national, or international), and specialty (general news or trade). In the multilingual Bay Area, an in-language piece may be the best way to engage communities who may not be tapped into the big daily English papers. Small local or neighborhood publications are more likely to give deeper coverage to a topic than larger outlets, and may be the best place for media coverage of community-driven stories.

Find the right reporters

There is likely someone already covering the topic at hand. Knowing who these reporters are and reading up on their past work can help you build relationships. Remember, the media has to fill up pages or air space, and a good relationship works both ways. You become a trusted news source and the outlet is more likely to cover your event or announcement.

The media is also likely to pick up on stories that have already run and develop their own angle. Media coverage by reporters familiar with the subject matter can lead to additional clips.

Develop a press kit for reporters and producers

The contents of your press kit will vary based on what you’re promoting, but one thing remains constant: your press kit should provide materials that help reporters working on tight deadlines.

Here are a few items to consider:

  • Media advisory: An invitation to the media to cover an event
  • Press release: A formal write-up of the who, what, when, where, why. You can include quotes from your spokespeople, stats, or anything else of value. Small community newspapers may run this release almost word for word, so make it good!
  • Hi-res images: This is one of the best ways to make reporters’ lives easier!
  • B-roll: Local TV stations may not have a crew available to send but they may use your b-roll as part of a headline round-up.
  • FAQ: If your information is technical, a simple FAQ can provide helpful context that wouldn’t fit in a general press release.

Consider how you will package the items in your press kit and share them on the day of your event or in advance of a major announcement. Take into account which materials may need to be shared electronically or downloaded onto a flash drive. Then give yourself plenty of time for press outreach.

Find Your News Hook

There is a reason why your story is made for the here and now. Remember that even for long-term projects, this may be the first time that someone is hearing about it. If there were one takeaway piece of information, what would you want it to be? Keep that point front and center. Reinforce it through your quotes. Decide on who is the best speaker for your story, determine who will field media inquiries, and have any experts who may be needed to help explain information on standby.

Plan Ahead

Start early to give yourself time to develop and implement the different pieces required for great media coverage. The more that can be anticipated in advance, the better your chances of seeing your story on the front page.