People often assume assume that getting press and media profile is out of their reach.
That is not true – you simply have to know what to do, how, when and use the right tools to get your ideas and stories across. Your starting point is to ask the right questions and to do your research.
Getting press and media profile relies on research
There are a number of key elements that you need to pin down to get press and media profile. First, you have to have a good understanding of what will interest journalists i.e. the ingredients of a new story. Press and media relations is wider, of course, than just news stories and that is where a second key element comes in – research.
To identify the news and comment opportunities that might be available to you then you need to do some research. Tha research needs to be split into a number of levels – this is what you need to think about.
Researching the press and media – who is relevant?
Your starting point is to identify the press and media relevant to your organisation – local, specialist/trade, regional business, national, consumer. There might be some obvious outlets and publications but it’s also worth digging deeper by searching online and, if possible, looking at a media database. You can source the contacts without using a media database but it will take much more time and effort.
Get the big picture for your target press and media
Top level research needs to identify whether those publications and outlets really are relevant for the type of news and comment you could provide. While a publication may target the audiences you want to get to if it is highly academic and only focuses on perr reviewed research then it may not give you the scope you need. So, this initial research helps you to weed out the publications/programmes and websites that are not appropriate. One of the biggest gripes journalists have is that they are approached with ideas and news stories that are not relevant to their audiences.
Drill down with your press and media research
Now you need to get into the detail to get a good feel for what that specific publication/programme/website/journalists will be interested in and how best you can target them. So, you need to find out the following:
- How they like to be contacted and receive information – preferences will vary by media and by journalist. These days, more often than not, information is issued to the press and media by email but you shouldn’t embed logos in emails, send your press release as an attachment or attach photos automatically.
- The deadlines that are relevant to them – bear in mind the different timescales the press and media work to – with radio, 24-hour news channels and the internet news can be reported as soon as it happens. Professional/trade publications could be weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or less frequently. This matters for getting your story to them in good time but also in relation to when, and how, you follow up.
- Any special interest areas they have within the topics they cover.
- The range of media a journalist might work for – this is particularly helpful to identify any other openings there might be for the story and your organisation.
- Their working hours or the days/times they are most available.
- The style of the media they work for/you are targeting. Generally, news releases follow an established format and style in the UK. For feature articles, publications and websites may well have guidelines so it is worth checking.
- Whether they work direct for the media outlet or as a freelancer. It’s helpful to know whether you are speaking to the person who will actually make the decision about your story/article or not.
- Frequency of the media/publication they are working for, so you can time your approach.
- The profile of the journalist and other ways to connect with them – are they using specific social media/networks?
As you might expect, the more research you can do on the press and media you are targeting the better.
In a nutshell: Doing research means that you can be highly targeted in your approach and that, combined with giving journalists something that is relevant to their audiences, is what will get press and media profile.
What is your approach to getting press and media profile?
Debbie Leven is a PR coach. To see how she can help you improve your PR, and protect your reputation, click here.
Image credit: Debbie Leven