Positive media coverage is a great tool to build goodwill. A steady cadence of earned media is recommended as an integral part of every organization’s long-term plan. But with shrinking newsrooms, how can businesses and nonprofits secure more media coverage? Candor has three tips.
Pitch the Right Stories
Identifying stories that will actually generate interest is essential. Many brands struggle, falling into the trap of overinflating internal announcements or believing the public will care about a company anniversary or incremental milestone.
Communication professionals mostly focus on stories that will impact the public, including:
Innovative developments or programs
Changes impacting local lives
Cultural offerings and events
Heartwarming, unique human-interest stories
Insight into trends and opportunities
Identify and Train Spokespeople
The fastest way to kill a media opportunity? Not having anyone available for interviews. The second fastest way? Giving a poor interview.
If the reporter can’t use the video footage or soundbites, the story could be much shorter, not air, or — worst of all — make a company appear foolish.
Prior to pitching a story, it’s important to identify the right spokesperson. Is it the CEO? President of the Board? Department head? Whoever it is, it’s imperative they are familiar with the topic and can speak knowledgably and clearly about it.
Once an interviewee is identified, make sure they have been media trained. Do they know where to look when on camera? How to stand during an interview? How to redirect questions they don’t want to or shouldn’t answer? Setting your interviewee up for success is essential.
Prioritize PR Internally
Many interview opportunities surface with only a few hours’ notice. Often, brands miss out because they don’t want to deviate from their to-do list to speak with the media. Reporters are typically on tight deadlines and need to publish by the end of the day — they will often move on to another source who prioritizes the opportunity.
To never miss a media opportunity, ensure employees (and their managers) know:
Media opportunities are an essential part of the organization’s business strategy.
Flexibility is needed. Can project deadlines adjust to accommodate? Meetings be rescheduled?
Participation in interviews is encouraged and expected.