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Three Mistakes You Are Making When Pitching The Media

Media Relations AwardsHaving your company, product or service covered by media is one of the accomplishments that you any business can achieve. While social networks media companies such as Facebook offer paid solutions to have content visible to its over one billion users Media Relations is still very great tool at your disposal.

What is media relations?

Media Relations involves working with media (which could be a blogger, radio station, newspaper or tv station) for the purpose of informing their audience something relevant about an organization’s product or service. Typically, this means coordinating directly with the people responsible for producing the news (content) and features in their audience. The goal of media relations is to maximize positive coverage in the mass media without paying for it directly through advertising.

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You throw spaghetti against any wall

Many TV cooking shows the host will do the following spaghetti test – they will throw cooked pasta against the wall. If it sticks to the wall, it’s done. Too many people use this method when trying to get media coverage. They hit every media outlet they come across, regardless of what topics those media outlets cover. They hire expensive agencies that mass email their news releases to every single outlet under the sun. They’re just trying to see what sticks. You may get a good meal with this method, but media coverage? Likely not.

Media Relations Lesson

Target media outlets carefully. Where do you want to be seen? Try to make a smart pitch to places where your audience will be gathering.

You don’t think about their audience

The reporter who covers travel and politics at a local newspaper each have a very different focus than the auto reporter at a local TV station. A business magazine has a different audience than a show about food. Sending these journalists a story pitch outside of their interest areas may not get a desired response, simply because it doesn’t fit what they cover.  Often it will get you permanently banned from coverage in the future.

Media Relations Lesson

Do a little homework on what reporters cover before sending an email. If you want them to invest time in covering your story, it is only fair for you to invest some time to find out what they cover. Watch a story they have put together, read one of their past articles. You’ll have a better idea of what stories interest them.

You aren’t providing enough compelling information

Are you anticipating the media outlet’s needs? Are you ready to provide some piece of additional information to allow them to stand out from the “standard coverage” that other outlets might provides? No, you don’t need a crystal ball, just a solid working knowledge of your industry. Are rules changing? Will your customers have to spend more money or time because of new regulations? Are stores getting crowded with shoppers wanting the hot new item of the season?

Media Relations Lesson

You are the expert in your industry. Maybe it’s affected by holidays, seasonal changes, or the weather. Use that knowledge to give insight and a great story to a reporter.

Getting covered by media is not a difficult thing to achieve, your ability to have a strong enough relationship with the person you are pitching and their needs is often what separates the front page from the garbage bin.

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