For smaller business, the responsibility of public relations often rests on the shoulders of a “non public relations professional.” For these people, the first question may be, “How do I Start Pitching?” But I think people can be equally confused by what opportunities exist in the first place. It seems logical that other companies are on TV, in magazines or quoted in newspapers; you see that every day. Yet a disconnect can remain with your own business and the coverage opportunities available in the media.
Before you tackle how to pitch, let’s take a look at where your company can be covered in the media. travelguidebook Each of the following categories can be broken down into even further categories – which is good news – but let’s start with a 10,000-foot view.
Category One: Newspapers. Look at your local paper and you will see a variety of sections. Generally, each local paper has some version of sections such as local news, national news, entertainment, real estate, lifestyle and more. This means there are multiple opportunities for media coverage in just your local paper, depending on how you frame your “news.” If you have a product or service that is available nationally or on the Internet, now your opportunity to be in newspapers has literally reached into the hundreds when you consider all the local newspapers across the country.
Category Two: Syndicates. Syndicates are news organizations that write stories to be picked up by other media. If you look at your local paper, for example, you will likely see at least one story attributed to the AP, or Associated Press. That same story was sent to thousands of local news stations, newspapers, Internet sites, radio stations and more, each with the opportunity to run it. Syndicates have writers with “beats,” or areas of coverage, just like newspapers. Pitch one of these reporters on your company and you have the chance to literally be in hundreds of media outlets at one time.
Category Three: Local Broadcast News. Your local news also has a variety of stories they cover, though the news value has to be bit greater than some other media outlets. They are mostly covering breaking news, or the day’s events. If your company can tie-in with the breaking news topics that’s great. If not, other opportunities still exist such as human interest stories or coverage of local events.
Category Four: National Morning News. This category of media is one of the harder ones to break into, such as the Today show or Good Morning America. But again, you never know what will strike the fancy of a producer, or how your company or product can suddenly be “hot” based on topical news. Let’s say, for example, the news is covering food safety issues based on recent violations uncovered by the FDA. If you are a food manufacturer and can provide an expert to discuss what consumers should do to help keep their families safe, then that is a good time to pick up the phone and pitch.
Category Five: Magazines. There is a magazine for just about every type of person or interest out there. From women’s issues, technology, entertainment, gardening, home building, fashion and more, this is certainly a category of media where each company should be able to easily envision itself finding an interested reporter.
Category Six: The Internet. The Internet provides good news – and slightly less good – for media coverage possibilities. The good news is that the Internet offers an ever-growing community of dedicated media outlets (think Slate, which was created specifically to be an online magazine), blogs, and counterparts to traditional media (online versions of People or Shape magazines, for example). More good news is that “softer” news has a better chance of being covered since online outlets must update and refresh their content often to be relevant to their audience; thus, they need more content. The less good news is that finding all the possible outlets to reach can be time-consuming and, when you do, it’s harder to track the number of “eyeballs” any one site gets. That said, for a new or growing company, the Internet can be the very best place to build a portfolio of media coverage that will take you to the next level.
Category Seven: Talk Shows. Talk shows are arguably another one of the more challenging areas for coverage. That said, there are still opportunities for companies who can make themselves relevant or offer the human-interest angle of an issue, for example. Another opportunity is for product coverage as, you will notice, several times a year many of these shows do segments such as holiday gift guides, good products for kids, the latest technology products or product giveaways for the audience.
Category Eight: Radio. An oldie but a goodie. Radio is still a great medium for getting the word out about local events, people and companies of interest in your community, experts on various topics and more. The advent of satellite radio has created even more opportunities, as has dedicated Internet radio stations. While satellite and Internet radio stations may have a smaller number of listeners than traditional radio, they are often broadcasting to niche markets of people who, when marketed to, are more likely to buy your product or service.
Category Nine: Trade Publications. Like general magazines, there is probably at least one trade publication for your industry. And since these publications essentially write about one topic, they are often hungry for news. Another perk of media coverage in your trade publication is that influential “players” in your industry will likely be reading about you, which can always lead to larger synergies such as partnerships, promotions or speaking opportunities.
As you can see, there is no shortage of opportunity. Understanding that a vast, and growing, universe of media exists – all looking for products, news and experts – will hopefully provide you with the confidence and inspiration to get the word out about your own company.
Visit Publicity411.com for more resources on how to execute do-it-yourself publicity campaigns.
Stacey Johnes is a co-founder of PUBLICITY411.COM, and a seasoned public relations professional with more than fifteen years of experience in the industry. Currently running two successful public relations business in Los Angeles, Johnes has managed public relations campaigns for some of the world’s most high-profile brands, including Microsoft, Disney, FOX, Nissan and more.