I often refer to PR as an ‘Eat Your Greens’ service. It's a business mindset…
Our PR blog series highlights how to achieve results for your business that creates impact. One of the ways is of course, media relations – being featured across media from national, consumer magazines, blogs to podcasts. To do so, you need to know what makes a relevant story so that you will be featured.
Marketing is about promoting you and/or your company – what you stand for, what you’re doing, what you’re launching. Much of this can be done across the business’ own channels. However it’s important to extend your reach through other channels.
In PR we’re in other people’s territory now. What value is it for them to feature your news with their audience? Unless there’s a strong compelling and timely reason to feature your business, your request will be forwarded to the advertising team.
Targeting The Relevant Contacts
Understanding how the media works and what type of stories are featured where is essential before contacting any type of media.
Each paper or magazine has a flat plan to follow. Every blog or podcast has subject and angle they focus on.
The front of the paper or magazine is for news or consumer news. News being the key word. It’s not about news developments in a company but news that will affect the public.
Some media will have features sections that are relevant for your particular industry or market i.e food and drink, travel, health. They need to be targeted specifically.
Over the years I’ve always looked through the titles to make sure that my pitch is relevant and outlined why when contacting them. Understanding which title and section of the media you’re targeting is the first point. To make sure you can provide value, there are two questions you should remember.
When I first started working in PR, I was taken along to a key journalist lunch meeting. I was working for pretty enviable international tourism boards at the time. Who wouldn’t want to visit these great destinations, all expenses paid, and write about it I thought?
As my director and I sat down describing the highlights and delights of these destinations, the journalist really challenged why he should pitch this into national media titles. What was new? What was of interest? More importantly, why was it relevant?
For every response, he’d counter with another destination that was doing something similar or had taken that particular angle to the next level. That lunch was a truly valuable PR lesson early on in my career.
As business owner and companies seek to be featured, telling media about what you do just isn’t enough. What solutions are you solving? Why does your perspective matter? Why should the public care?
Media are not interested in your business but the issues around your business – Janet Murray (Content Live 2018)
It’s important to link the news that’s relevant to today’s news agenda. What is the hot issue at the moment? Can you contribute to this? Can you validate your view point with statistics or even a case study?
The second aspect to consider is why is this relevant right now. Not to your business but to the consumer. The media will cover what’s on trend within its features or what’s driving the news agenda at the time. How does your news and developments fit within this?
All media types will cover something that’s relevant at the time it’s happening. If you announce a hotel is opening, they’ll want to cover it around the opening. If you’re launching a new restaurant they need to review when its recently opened. It makes the difference to when the feature appears now, or is filed and appears six-twelve months later.
Likewise does your product or service fit in with something that’s relevant at the time, for example an awareness day or time of year/seasonality that will be a focus for media features.
Japan House opened in 2018, the cultural centre showcases Japan and its amazing highlights to excite potential travellers and enthusiasts around the destination. It’s timing is no coincidence – 2019 is a very exciting year for Japan with both the World Rugby Cup and Winter Olympics taking place. The opening therefore attracted a lot of attention amongst the media and also the public.
Travel journalists have already been visiting the country to line up their features around the key events. As the world spotlight hits the destination, you’ll have perhaps seen far more tourism features about the destination and why you should visit…..all would have pitched in the year before to showcase why Japan is the must visit destination, now.
Sometimes clients are not able to fit neatly in the ‘so what’ or ‘why now’ categories. One of the best things I’ve loved about working in PR is the opportunity to get creative!
I’ve had great fun and challenges when the agency team is brought together to help drive a more creative element to campaigns.
Coming up with PR ideas to be bold, innovative or just humorous during these sessions that will turn your audience from uninterested to invested. Looking for ways to make the client and their news relevant and generate the talk ability factor around what is being promoted, or creative ways for the clients to engage with various media titles, writers, creators and influencers.
Admittedly more budget is usually required for this type of activity such as costs to set up a PR stunt, event or photo shoot. If you’re making some bold claims or insights into a particular issue, media still need to see stats, research or investigative studies which you may need to source, collate or verify.
However I’ve seen great creative ideas carried out with minimal investment. So put those thinking hats on! For every idea think – why is this relevant, how does this deliver our objectives, what’s the client journey and what are we trying to achieve?
Having trouble finding the media hook or need PR expertise to help make your company relevant for the media and issues in your industry? Book in your free consult call here to see how we might be able to assist.