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Many people get their information from the media. Media comes in all forms - newspapers, magazines, television programs, radio shows, etc. The Web has ushered in other forms of media too - online articles, blogs, podcasts, etc.
Familiarization and engagement in media will increase an owner's credibility and acclaim amongst the public. The following article discusses the steps in working with the media.
Know the sources
Before attempting to get into a media source, it is best to know about it. Who are their readers/listeners? What is their circulation? What type of information is regularly posted?
Another insight is to do some forecasting. Most media outlets will have some sort of calendar displaying what topics will be covered in the future. This provides a start in coming up with articles, points of discussion, research, etc.
Some business owners hire workers to do their public relations and others prefer to do it themselves. Either way, it is important to foster contact with editors, reporters, etc.
It is best to create a spreadsheet with names, titles, numbers, and brief notes about prior contacts. The more you build the rapport with people in the media, the better your chances become in being included and being approached for future opportunities.
It is not so easy to create a media stir. Media representatives are very selective and pressed for time. They will not be intrigued about a pitch regarding your holiday work party at the local catering service, but they will be interested in groundbreaking research or a new business concept. These are two extremes, and the reality of the situation is news from your company will many times fall somewhere along the spectrum.
Be selective yourself in what stories and information you provide to various sources. Different media outlets will be optimal for different information - know which ones are which.
Create a media kit
In introducing your company to the media, it is best to have a media kit orchestrated. A media kit provides information about your company in regards to your ideology, top services and products, statistics about the company, and most importantly - contact information.
A media kit is like an invitation card - it alerts the media of your presence and gives them the opportunity to consider your company for interviews, stories, features, etc.
People of the media are very busy and popular - all businesses want some press. Ideally, we want the media to come to us, but unless we are a big company or make an impact putting us in a position to select whom we speak with, we are going to seek them out.
All of your motions towards the media representatives should cater to them. If you want to pitch them a story, do it in such a way that they will understand why it would be beneficial to their readership - spell it out for them. You may think your company has a great story, but the representative may not have the time to immediately see the "grand scheme."
It is suggested to first contact media representatives through email, and then if you have not heard back from them, to follow-up with a phone call. The best time to contact people of the media is in the morning. If things are to be published for the following morning, they will be busy in the afternoon to make deadlines.
As aforementioned, it is best to be aware before initializing contact. Look at their calendars, read their sources, and know what information is provided in their outlets.
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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