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Get a PR person
It takes time and tenacity to get into the media. It becomes difficult to stay attuned to opportunities while conducting other affairs. It is suggested either to hire someone in-house, or to look for outside help in the area of public relations. An in-house public relations person is advantageous because time often becomes a factor, and it is much faster to communicate with someone working with you rather than contacting an outside source.
Do some research
Take time to think about what avenues to explore. There are multitudes of media outlets, but not all of them will be germane to your area of industry. Begin by locating business journals, magazines, newspapers, Web sites, blogs, radio shows, etc. that offer information in your industry. Once you gain experience in working with the media, it will be easier to address outlets that have a broader audience.
Assess where your information should go. Some news is worthy of a press release, and other information would warrant a larger platform. For instance, moving your business to a new location is probably not going to make the front page of the New York Times, but it is worth orchestrating a press release about the change. If your business conducted research, or came out with a groundbreaking new product, then it would be worth pitching the story to major newspapers.
The masses want information, so give it to them. Conduct surveys, analyze data, interview heads of industries, etc. Find out what is of interest, and then create your own unique spin on the topic. Look at editorial calendars for magazines and newspapers. What is going to be in these mediums in the near future? When you find out, work on gathering data in relation to those points of discussion and pitch your information to their editors.
Dealing with journalists, editors, etc.
People of the media have a job to do; they seek to deliver something of interest to the people. You must first arrange your information in such way that will be appealing to the most people. It is very easy to believe your information is newsworthy because you are partial to your business' success; editors are not. They are not concerned about the acclaim of your business; they are concerned about satisfying their public. If their public is not going to be interested in you, then the editors will not be intrigued.
The best thing to do is first send the editor, journalist, etc. an email. Be very succinct and specific with your email. They will be appreciative if you tell them exactly what the details of your story are and how it relates to their readership. If you are too general, they may not have to time to follow up with you.
Think of them as part of the public. You want to impress them, as you want to engage the masses. Deliver your story with appeal. Insert any articles, stats, etc. into the email rather than sending any attachments; it is quicker for them to read information off the email than waiting for an attachment to open. If you do not hear back from them, then give them a call a day or two later to follow up.
Create a media list
Make a media list of the contact people in each organization. It is even better to leave some notes about things talked about, stories submitted, stories rejected, etc. This way, you can build a stronger rapport with them with each contact by referring to past conversations.
Make your media list as large as possible. Do not be satisfied with a certain amount of contacts; there is always room for more.
Once a week
It is good practice to attempt to get your company in the news in some way at least once a week. This may seem like a lot to do, but it is worth it, especially to a smaller company. This may mean constructing a press release, writing a guest blog, etc. It will take more time to construct information to get into larger platforms such as major newspapers or magazines.
It takes patience to make it into the media. Constantly work on coming up with ideas to offer information. Remember, you want to organize your information so that it is intriguing and useful to the masses.
Not all editors are easily charmed. If you do not get a story in their medium at first, find out why and modify your approach for next time. The key is not to get discouraged; persistence will eventually benefit you.
Making it into the media takes practice, and a lot of trial and error. Construct information objectively, and with the benefit of the masses in mind. Use your media list to choose the right avenues for particular stories, information, etc. and keep notes. Stay confident, astute, and persistent. If your approach is not working, modify, and try again. Make it a habit to get your name out there in some form each week.
Kenneth C. Wisnefski is the president of VendorSeek.com, an online business to business marketplace that connects business consumers with pre-approved vendors in over 150 different categories. VendorSeek.com has over 5,000 vendors in their Approved Vendor Network and processes close to 10,000 requests per month from businesses of all sizes.
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