How to use Insider Media Relations™ to Get Media Coverage and Master Media Training
Earning media coverage can seem daunting, but we’re here to help demystify the process with our unique approach. We call it Insider Media Relations™: strategies we’ve developed through years of experience working in the newsroom, understanding how the media work, what they need, and where they’ll go next on a story.
How to Get Media to Pick Up Your Story
Have you ever been challenged to get media coverage for an event that wasn’t very visual, didn’t have a big name celebrity emcee or didn’t have a juicy angle to grab media attention?
We’ve all been there. That’s where Insider Media Relations™ can help. It’s the process of thinking through all your tools, creating an irresistible media hook to grab the media’s attention, and pitch strategically to the journalists most likely to cover your story.
We focus our efforts on landing coverage by the "homerun" outlet- the one outlet where our clients absolutely HAVE TO SEE COVERAGE to feel like our work is a bang-up success. It could be the biggest TV station, one where they have a personal connection or a niche trade publication that reaches a coveted audience. The homerun outlet is where we concentrate our efforts to get coverage.
Successful Media Relations are a Long Game
The best way to earn media coverage? By building relationships over time with journalists by getting to know their professional "brand." What do different journalists like to cover? What do they tweet about? Make your pitch tailor-made for each individual or media outlet.
An irresistible pitch can also be something that grabs attention for being different, unusual, or against-the-grain. For example, we helped a client land coverage on a not-very-visual hiring fair by positioning it to business media as "good news you can use" for their viewers during an economic downturn. You bet that got media coverage!
Creative Ways to Get Press Coverage
In another example for Lung Cancer Foundation of America, we landed media coverage of an all-day social media takeover by illustrating what living with lung cancer looks like through fun, engaging stories of people who happened to be living with the disease. One patient- a personal trainer- got great TV coverage of his work supporting other people's health goals and invited viewers to watch his hour-long beach workout on the day of the live event. Another patient landed a sports (yes, sports!) interview about her family's love of fantasy football and their huge, raucous draft party every year. In their interviews, they mentioned the day-long social media event of course, but the fundraising event wasn't the main component of the pitch.
The client's PR goal was awareness of lung cancer as the #1 cancer killer in the US leading to contributions for increased lung cancer research funding. The faces illustrating this goal were the people living with lung cancer like the personal trainer and fantasy football fan.
What is Media Training and How Can it Help My Organization?
Have you ever had a great story to share but felt tongue-tied when trying to explain it in an interview? Have you ever felt “ambushed” by a journalist or afraid you won’t have the right answer for a tough question? Have you ever had an interview wander off-topic or go into areas that you can’t talk about? Maybe you just want to feel comfortable and look great in front of the camera so you’re ready for anything. That’s where M&C’s Insider Media Relations™ media training process can help.
Let’s start with the three people you should always be “talking to” when you’re talking to the media.
Media Training Tips: Use the M&C Three
Who are the M&C 3? These are the three people you should always pretend you’re talking to when you’re communicating publicly.
Your best friend: Think about your best friend, how excited you are to see him or her, what fun you have together, and how much you like to share stories and things of interest. Your energy is high and you’re excited to share a piece of information with him or her. This is GREAT! When you’re excited to share information, other people feel it and feed off your energy. You’re open, you’re excited, and you’re drawing the audience in with your enthusiasm.
Your worst enemy: The person who will be the biggest help protecting your brand and your reputation is your WORST ENEMY. It sounds counterintuitive, but think about it: your worst enemy is vile and vindictive and will take any opportunity to hurt you personally, your business, and your brand. Your worst enemy will take your words, a tweet, or even an initiative you created as a good deed and twist it to make you look bad. They’ll distort your meaning, take you out of context and dent your reputation. So why on earth do we say that your worst enemy is your best friend when it comes to Brand Protection™? Because you need to think of your WORST ENEMY every single time you say something, post something, or even plan something. Think about how someone who is dead-set against you could possibly take what you’re trying to say or do and turn it against you, and don’t let them get the chance.
Your grandmother: The trick here is that you should be calibrating your communication so absolutely everyone-- including your grandmother-- can understand what you’re trying to communicate. This means scale back the jargon. Stay away from industry buzzwords. Keep your sentences short, sweet, and direct. Stay laser-focused on your message. If grandma gets what you’re saying, chances are, everyone gets what you’re saying.
At M&C Communications, we put our experience as journalists to work for you. Whether you need messaging created to handle a sticky situation, media training to handle every interview with grace and authority, or a full crisis communications plan to protect your brand and build trust with your audience, tap into our unique Insider Media Relations™ expertise to master the art of media relations.