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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago, a dinner party conversation turned to a particularly awkward icebreaker forced on a friend at her new job. A colleague asked everyone to share their favorite childhood camp experiences. My friend said the resulting conversation was painful, as one by one, it became apparent that this icebreaker leader was the only person in the meeting who grew up with enough resources to go to summer camp. All of my friend’s colleagues gracefully shared a nice childhood summer memory in lieu of a camp experience, but she said the rest of the meeting was challenging because of the careless icebreaker.