Gaining Media Attention and Coverage

It’s one thing to say your company has a life-changing solution that helps cure a pernicious health problem. It’s another thing to show with data how the use of your technology or solution results in the remediation of the problem.

Do you believe in what you’re doing? Do you have dramatic stories of customer success when using your products?

If you do, then turn these anecdotes into powerful data using research methods. Data illustrative of the results experienced by your clients and patients will increase the credibility of your claims to have a life-altering solution or a cure for the common cold. 

Why is data helpful?

Journalists cannot simply take your word for something. If you’re wrong, the outlet’s credibility is called into question.

If you called the New York Times health reporter with a claim of having the cure for the common cold, and all you have are your own words, would they believe you? Not likely. However, if you have well-researched, credible findings from a documented process that quantifies results, then you might be interesting. Of course in the case of medical miracles, you will need third party review to improve credibility and confirm sound research methods.

We were recently invited to assist a potential new client with media relations to gain earned media placement for their firm. We recommended an in-depth study and analysis of the statistical results to document positive outcomes from using the client’s services. Gaining this data would allow for the development of a factually based story focused on how the client’s services led to a cessation of symptoms, curing a specific, long-term health problem. This story would have been compelling and distinctive and of help to millions.

Show, don’t tell. Use facts. Use data, graphs, charts

Journalists need charts, graphs, and data. You must go further – giving journalists a full array of materials to complete their story. You can provide snippets of interviews in video format as well as an executive summary and detailed report of the methodology of the study and the analysis of the findings. 

Over the last years, media outlets have fractured and morphed. New channels and leaders have emerged. Consumers have found new places to turn their attention to journalists who are now going direct to audiences through outlets such as Substack newsletters. 

We have written in the past of how you can develop a fully fleshed out story that gives journalists all the materials necessary to write a complete story. These maxims still apply today more than ever.

CEOs are not always aware of the amount of work which leads to a successful media placement. It is not uncommon for us to hear from a potential client about unsupported claims of being “the best”. Anyone can say they are the best. But can they prove it? That’s the key to creating news. To making news. Or as your grandmother may have said, the proof is in the pudding.

Findings must be so irrefutable

Getting the data

Ask your clients to take a survey to gain insights that can be analyzed and presented in a manner to quantify the results they have had from your products. Create the survey in conjunction with someone experienced in marketing research and use valid statistical methods to compose and then analyze the survey items.

You can also use focus groups, many of which are conducted online. Again, use valid research and interview techniques to elicit findings which will be credible.

And finally, call on professionals like the team at Charleston PR & Design to help you gather the insights and present them with supportive materials. 

Wrap It Up—Developing a Complete Story Idea to Gain Publicity, Earned Media or Placement

Give a story idea to a journalist

Did you ever think of giving the perfect gift to your media contacts–a well-developed developed story idea? No, then put that on your list of To-Dos.

When birthdays or holidays come around, people seek the perfect gifts for their clients, family or friends. You can do it for your business if you are willing to put in some work or have a dedicated marketing department that can take on this task.

Getting in the news

Packaging a story with all the items a journalist, blogger or reporter needs can gain your business earned media and pick-up. Journalists are not that different from the rest of us. They have a job to do and that job requires them to produce compelling content for their audiences…which is the same goal you have. As a business marketing itself, you need to provide your customers and prospects with the right information to help them choose your firm over others. When these two goals come together, you get earned media.

Required story idea steps

Here are a few requirements you must have in order to pitch a story:

  1. Familiarity with your community’s journalists. Within your community, whether it be bloggers, online magazines, consumer or trade magazines, newspapers, radio or television, there are outlets that need your news. You need to know who they are and how and what they prefer to receive from your company. As a public relations professional, it is my job to do this for my clients. But you can do this too. And in fact you should monitor your local news and content outlets so you understand who their audiences are. If you don’t have time to do this, nothing else on this list will be of much use to you. Because, when you monitor an outlet, not only do you know their “slant” you understand exactly how they approach a story. You’ll note that some are sensationalists, some are conservative, some are liberal. And when it comes to trades, some take story ideas and some don’t. If you want to “pitch” stories, and aren’t able to know these things, partner with a public relations provider. This is a core competency for most successful public relations practitioners. They make it their business to understand what journalists need.
  2. A positive reputation. If you are active in your community, and on social media and are well respected, you will have greater success in gaining placement.
  3. A compelling “news peg” or hook which makes the story essential and compelling to the journalist’s audience. Ask yourself this as you draft a story idea: “Why should someone care about this story?” If you can’t answer that question, then keep thinking. After you comprehend the angle you are going to use, write a three to four sentence paragraph that wraps this concept into a neat package—this is your story idea, or pitch.
  4. A press release or media advisory that sums up all the relevant facts and details about who, what, when, where, and why. If you aren’t sure how to write a press release, or media advisory, you can find lots of advice on the writing of press releases on the web.
  5. High quality, high resolution photos of the subjects or items discussed in your story. Many outlets will accept images to illustrate the story, and you must have these in hand. Note in your press release that you have images available to journalists and will supply them upon request. If your firm has an online newsroom or is using an online distribution system such as PR Web, you will be able to add your images to the online area. If your business doesn’t have an online media area where you you can share necessary materials with journalists, have your web developers create one for you.
  6. Logos or brand marks of the companies who are the subjects of your release. Online trade journals frequently will use your firm’s logo or brand mark to illustrate a story, so have a good quality file available at a high resolution. You may also need to have a vector based file for print publications. Vector based files scale and will provide a better reproduction of your businesses logo than a low resolution .jpg or .gif file.

Now, share your story idea

When you have all these requirements met, you can “pitch” or share your story idea. Most journalists have preferences about how they like to receive story ideas. I recommend that you get to know the journalists in your community in advance and to learn their preferences and how they like materials submitted. Some will not accept attached files, and some will only accept files submitted through their online submission portal. For others like bloggers, you really need to have a working relationship with them in advance. You can’t just expect them to take a story you pitch, when you don’t know them.

If you’ve done all these things correctly, the outlet will be delighted to accept your story, just like a well selected gift delights the recipient.

Oh, and just like when you get a real gift, be sure to write a thank you note.


Copyright: pachaileknettip / 123RF Stock Photo

PR Power Tactics


Gone are the days when businesses had to rely solely on inclusions in the newspaper. Today, businesses can be publishers.

Gaining earned media

It’s common business desire—getting your business featured in the news. Business owners want to gain earned media, or mentions in newspapers, or even have their founder interviewed on the news.  Ho do you go about it? What works? These five tips from Mary Cantando frequently work to help your firm gain earned media.

I’ve quoted and cited Mary Cantando before. Her weekly newsletter of tips and ideas is called “The Woman’s Advantage”, but heck, anyone can take advantage of her great ideas. As a public relations consultant, I’ve frequently used similar tactics such as the ones she recommends to gain media attention. The only caveat that I’ll add is you must have the data to back up your statements! Don’t go wildly throwing facts and figures around when you have nothing to stand on.

5 Ways to Get Media Interviews and Mentions 

1. Quote startling statistics. The fact that women have been starting businesses at twice the rate of men has been a real attention getter, so I’ve led with that for several years. Remember, just because information is common to you and others in your circle does not mean that the media is aware of it. Learn some startling statistics about your industry and use them to attract media attention.

2. Lead with intriguing questions.“Why do fewer than 2% of women business owners generate over a million dollars in revenue?” OR, you could flip that and say, “Why are 98% of women business owners unable to cross over the $1MM mark?” Following that lead, I discuss The Woman’s Advantage Program™ that I’ve developed to help women cross over that mark.

3. Reference pop culture. How is your product/service/business like Lady Gaga? Or “The Hunger Games”? Or Dick Clark. The more current and hot your comparison, the more likely you’ll get a pick-up. Look at yesterday’s news and create an analogy between your offering and a hot news item.

4. Lead with absolutes. Almost to the point of being arrogant. Use “never, must, always…”

5. Attack a current problem.I often attack high unemployment by discussing how small business owners…women in particular…are creating jobs by growing their businesses. So I might use a lead-in like “Women are rescuing the US economy.”

One thing to remember is that we no longer are captive of the press. As a business owner, you can publish your own information. If you’ve not undertaken a regular content marketing plan to develop, curate, post and share authoritative content that is related to your business, give us a call. We can help your business get the attention you seek.


Photo credit: flickr creative commons user Rexburg Historical Society