How Do I Get the Media to Cover My Story?
During media training workshops and in the information provided on this website, I speak a lot about protecting yourself from negative reports in the media. There are times though when you want to speak to the media. Perhaps your company has launched a new product, program or service and you want the public to know about it. That’s the time when you likely take your story to the news media and want coverage. Regardless of what profession you're in, there are some simple rules to increase the chances of the news media covering you and your story when you’re looking for coverage.
Set a Long Trap Line
Before you send a news release, you need to build an email list of news contacts to send your information to. You can always buy a list, but you have no idea how accurate it is. I suggest taking some time, or paying somebody to build a media contact list for you. Most of the contact information can be found on the websites of news organizations. It takes awhile to build a good list, but it’s far cheaper than buying advertising to spread the news.
Write a Great News Release
The quality of your announcement is really important. This may be a place where getting a professional to write it for you would be a good investment. Get to your news in the first paragraph, make sure the release is long enough, but not too long, and include contact info for the media to follow up. Make sure you write about how the announcement will affect the public because that’s what the media cares about.
Timing is Everything
There are two times that it's smart to get earned media - when the media needs news to fill its allotted time slots and when your story is related to a big story already in the news. At certain times of the year, such as over the Christmas holidays the media has time to fill and few reporters to help fill it, so this is a great time to get your news release in the media's hands. Also, if your story relates to a major story already in the media, your chances of getting media coverage is better because the media will be looking for additional local angles.
Make It Easy For the Media
It's really important to make covering your story as easy for the media as possible. Have good people lined up for interviews and remember that TV and the printed media love adding video and photos to their stories. Anything you can do to make the media's job easier will help your story get covered. Send the news release a few days before your event, allowing outlets to make plans to be there and leave the impression that your spokespeople will be able to provide valuable comments.
Remember, this isn’t about you – it’s about the people who will be affected by your announcement, so let the media know how it may affect them and not yourself.
If you have a question you can’t find an answer to,