Today, it’s vital to earn media attention to grow your brand – traditional media, non-traditional media, social media, etc.
Working in Traditional Media
Kristen Pope and I have similar stories of working for News 12. She was in Westchester. I was in the Bronx. We also worked in small Texas markets before moving to the bigger markets of Boston and Miami.
In TV, you start small and work your way up. Moving up the ladder could not be more competitive or cutthroat, but the experiences and relationships you build are life changing.
Creating Non-Traditional Media
Reporting is NOT an easy job and everything a reporter writes is gone over with a fine-toothed comb by producers, editors, and more people higher up the ladder. Wanting more freedom, Kristen started her own production company, Pope Productions. With Pope Productions came The Positive Controversy.
This gave Kristen the opportunity to tell the stories she wanted to tell, the way she wanted to tell them. She was the news director, producer, reporter, and editor.
Everyone and everything has a story. You don’t need the traditional media to share it. You can create it like Kristen did, but like she says in the video interview, you’re not going to profit off of your story right away. It’s not that easy. (If it was, everyone would do it!)
Monetizing takes time, but it can happen. Once you have the product perfected, it’s time to shop it around! Kristen has already had success and is ready for more in 2017:
Pitching her show
If you want to grow your brand in the media, outside of traditional media, Kristen advises two things (and they are good.)
1. Start Creating Content.
If you don’t know how to do it, you’ll learn how to do it. Trial and error is a good thing!
People are digesting content everywhere online, so make it for them because they are looking for it!
2. Don’t Stop.
Finally, don’t quit. Stay the course, because you don’t know how close you are to making it, until you make it.
For more about Kristen, Pope Productions, and her show The Positive Controversy, visit www.KristenLPope.com or click here.
What is media relations? That’s a question I get a lot. Many people don’t understand the media relations definition, and I can see why it’s difficult to comprehend. Even family members and friends ask me, “What does a media relations specialist do?” So, I’m going to break it down here.
Media Relations Definition
When I asked Google to define media relations, it told me “Media relations refer to the relationship that a company or organization develops with journalists, while public relations extend that relationship beyond the media to the general public.”
My client, the Beebo, feature on the Rachael Ray Show
In other words, it’s earning placement in the media without paying for it. When you pay for it, it’s advertising. When you don’t pay for it, it’s media relations.
The picture above shows media coverage I earned for my client, the Beebo. The Beebo was featured in a segment called “Human Lab” that showed local mothers testing out three different baby products.
Public Relations / Media Relations
Aren’t they the same thing? Well, no.
Many people think they are the same thing and get them confused because most people want public relations forthe media relations. There is a lot more to public relations – there’s writing, blogging, social media, events, photography, video, advertising, SEO, and much more. Media relations is just one part of public relations. Many times, it’s the most popular part.
So now that you’re clear on what media relations is, you’re probably wanting to hear some media relations tactics, right? I’ve also included a media relations plan template and guide that will help you as well. Click here to access that or scroll down.
Have a Media Relations plan.
I meet with so many people who say they want to earn media for their brand, but aren’t specific as to where they want media and what kind of media they want. Having a media relations plan means you know exactly who you want to target – the journalist at the media outlet – and you know with what story angle you want to pitch them. Make sure your plan is very specific.
Practice Media Relations 101.
What is media relations 101? In a sentence – it’s not calling a journalist when you first attempt to pitch them. While some prefer to work on the phone, most do not. (Here’s an example of that.) For many, it’s just not convenient.
Most prefer to receive an email. A short email. If you want to send a press release, copy and paste it in the body of the email instead of sending it as an attachment. But today, you don’t need a press release to pitch the media.
The fortune is in the follow up, so don’t email once and leave it there. Wait a few days. Then, you can send a follow up email, make a call, or even send a tweet.
Use these Media Relations tips.
Do not look for a free commercial. You will not earn coverage if you just want to promote your brand. Instead, you need to tell a story and the best way to do that is by using what I call the three Es:
If you can offer a story that educates, entertains, and offers some kind of emotion to the media outlet’s viewers and/or readers, you will earn media coverage. The hardest part is finding that story, but every brand has a story to tell! You just need to know how to look for it.
When I was working with Heat Running, I did not focus on the app itself. Instead, I focused on the story behind the app and the creators. With this approach, I earned Heat Running coverage in Women’s Running, Men’s Fitness, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Today Show, Runner’s World, and many others.
My client, Heat Running, featured in Runner’s World
Need more help? No problem. That’s why I’m here! Check out this media relations guide that also serves as a media relations plan template to start earning your brand exposure in the media.
Regarding media exposure, I’ve had this conversation many times:
You: “I think I have a great product, but no one knows about it.”Me: “Do you have someone handling your public relations?”You: “We looked into it, but it’s so expensive. We’re just trying to do it ourselves for now.”Me: “Well, what are you doing?”You: “We post on social media and send out press releases, but it’s like people still don’t know we exist.”
Well, if you want to know why you’re not earning media exposure… maybe it’s because you’re not making yourself, your product, your service, your business, or even your brand newsworthy.
1. You’re not earning media exposure because you are sending a press release.
Before I start working with most clients, the words “press release” are usually spoken in the first 10 minutes… and not by me. I don’t like press releases, but many small business owners insist on me writing them and sending them out. If this is what you’re doing, this is why they may not be working for you:
Your press release is too long
Your press release is boring
Your press release is complicated
Your press release is not newsworthy
Your press release is too evergreen
2. You’re not earning media exposure because you are reaching out to the wrong people.
Earning media coverage is hard. Because it’s not only free, but much more effective than advertising, small business owners want it for their brand. Many times, this means pitching anyone and everyone in the media industry with an email address. This is not effective. When I was a TV reporter in Miami, I would receive pitches that included a topic in a different market, a topic I have never covered before, a topic that would never be covered by the TV station itself, and the list goes on.
3. You’re not earning media exposure because you are promoting your brand too much.
While some media coverage may end up being seen as a great commercial for a brand, it should never be pitched this way. Remember, the job of a journalist is to tell a story that will educate, entertain, and evoke some kind of emotion in the reader or viewer. If your brand isn’t doing that with a pitch, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
4. You’re not earning media exposure because you are not trying hard enough.
Very rarely does a member of the media come to you. If one does, consider yourself lucky and that a rare occasion. Journalists work 24/7 – at 2:00 am, on Christmas morning, and many times in a few different cities in just a couple of days. It’s not a 9-5 job, so you cannot treat your outreach like it is.
5. You’re not earning media exposure because you are not ready.
If your website is not up and running or if your product is not ready for distribution, then you are not ready to earn media exposure. Unless you have a solid business plan with something to see, people to talk to, and documents to share, then you need to do more on the business side before trying to earn exposure in the media.
Now that you know what’s not working, why not try some things that work? In this free e-mail course, I’ll teach how to right some of these wrongs.
Yes, I own a public relations firm… and I hate press releases. Sounds crazy, right? Well, I spent almost a decade deleting them, so there’s that.
When I was looking to leave the TV business and start working at a public relations firm, so many wouldn’t hire me because I didn’t have any PR agency experience. I would say, “No, I don’t, but I do have experience deleting just about everything you’ve ever sent me. Would you like to know why?”
Honestly, not one of them wanted to know why… but they still continued to send me terrible press releases in an attempt to earn their clients publicity.
So, here are 6 reasons I hate press releases:
No one was putting themselves in my shoes.
I’m the reporter. I’m the one you want to cover the story, so put yourself in my shoes. Is it what I usually cover? No. Does it pertain to the area I cover? No. So you’re sending it to me why? Because it’s what you should do?
It wasn’t newsworthy.
Most press releases I received basically screamed, “Please, give my client a free commercial! There is nothing really newsworthy here, but I need to get this on TV!” Unless the news day is so, so, so very slow… local TV news doesn’t do free commercials. Instead, educate me. Entertain me. At least attempt to make it newsworthy! There’s gotta be a story in there somewhere. In addition, why should I do your story when I’m one of dozens, if not hundreds getting this exact same press release?
They are just too long.
Do you know how many press releases news outlets and journalists get in a single day?! It’s a lot. You’d be shocked! If you don’t keep it short and sweet and get to the point, all your time and energy writing that press release was wasted.
It said “Press Release” in the subject line.
That = automatic deletion. Seriously, you could have the solution to all of the worlds problems in that press release. With that subject line, no one will read it.
It said “Breaking News” in the subject line…
and was about an art show… the same day a mass shooting occurred. This not only gets you deleted, but shamed and embarrassed in the newsroom and in online industry groups. I’ve seen it. As a journalist, I laughed. As someone in the PR industry, please stop. You are embarrassing me.
It didn’t give me what I needed, when I needed it.
If I’m in TV, what would I do with high resolution pictures or quotes? Nothing. I need an interview… and not a Skype interview. An in person interview… and that person better be available from the second you send me that press release. If I ever responded to a press release, this was a follow up problem. In TV, we do things the day of. Unless it’s a special report, the story is started and finished within hours, so don’t send me something to cover, then tell me to wait because you aren’t ready. You just lost your chance.
With that said, I don’t think all press releases are pointless. I bet everyone jumps at the chance to read one from Apple. I would. They put out some pretty good stuff. I still write press releases for clients. I definitely think they have a time and a place, but I do not believe press releases should be a go-to thing each and every time you want to reach out to the media. Many PR pros do. In my opinion, #1-#6 is how not to write a press release.
For more on how I can help you grow your business, whether it be through a strategic press release or pitch, please e-mail me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com… or you can check this out! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR.