Developing a media campaign that communicates your organisation’s key messages, reflects your brand and resonates with your stakeholders is an effective way to build profile, engage clients and generate brand awareness. However, building a relationship with media can take time. You have to be patient, proactive and plan for success.
Adopt a consistent approach to generating timely, relevant news and you will gradually build a reputation as a reliable go-to source in your area of expertise. Here are my 5 top tips for planning and implementing an effective media campaign for your organisation.
Get organised, generate ideas
January is a great time to start! Establish a PR calendar at the beginning of the year as part of your planning process. Keep it simple. Divide by month and jot down all those events and activities that could potentially generate PR opportunities. Expect to review at least every three months, adding new ideas and reflecting on the previous quarter in terms of what did and didn’t work. Some items for consideration may include; speaking engagements; product launches; comment on industry developments, national policy and how it may impact your industry; new staff appointments, awards or promotions; customer/client surveys; new business wins; competitions; top tips and advice; milestones in your business etc., basically anything that could potentially develop into media content be it a press release, a film clip, a sound bite, a tweet or a by-lined article.
Target relevant media
Look at your local newspapers and business magazines to identify journalists who cover your specialism. Don’t forget online media. Keep track of the types of topics covered and think about ways your commentary could provide additional information and add value to their readership. Plan a contact campaign, emailing relevant editors and journalists. Include a quick bio, a list of topics you are happy to cover and an explanation of why you feel qualified to discuss them. Journalists are usually on the lookout for interesting, topical stories so why not do some of the leg work for them and suggest a few ideas? Remember to maintain a database of contact details. It is useful to find out the content deadlines for various newspapers and magazines. You will gradually learn the right day/time to send any press releases and the best time to contact journalists and researchers.
Develop a sense for what’s newsworthy. Cultivate a point of view.
If you are not already a ‘news hound’, take an active interest in current affairs, particularly matters that are relevant to your sector. Develop a sense for topics that are worthy of comment and cultivate a point of view. For example, a lawyer might have something to say about upcoming changes in legislation? Are there changes afoot in your industry? If so, you might consider entering the debate with an impactful sound bite. Consistently producing timely, newsworthy, relevant comment will develop credibility and position you as a go-to source in your area of expertise, building profile for you and your business.
Importance of good images
Don’t give a journalist a reason not to cover your article. Should they decide to use your piece, they might expect you to have one or two high quality images to accompany it. Make sure that you have them ready to go! Any images submitted should be of a professional standard. Ensure that they are high resolution, i.e. 300dpi/1KB or more, and colour. It’s helpful to check out the photos used in your target publications so that you can match your images to their editorial style. For example, some publications might prefer ‘action’ or ‘in situ’ shots to studio or head shots.
Are there changes afoot in your industry? If so, you might consider entering the debate with an impactful sound bite.
Quid Pro Quo
Finally, all media relies heavily on advertising. It follows that if you are a regular advertiser, you have a relationship and the newspaper may be more receptive to covering your stories. Advertising is worth considering and it may already be part of your marketing mix. Local newspapers in particular are often a go to source for information on local businesses and services.
About the author: Suzanne Shaw, MBA, is an independent marketing professional with 20 years’ experience in developing and implementing marketing and communications strategies working in a wide range of sectors and businesses, from start-ups to not-for-profit to SMES.