10 top tips for creating a successful media strategy
You don’t have to be a large company to have a great PR or media relations strategy. Small firms can create a massive media presence if they get the message right, if they have a good spokesperson and if they deliver information and opinion that is newsworthy.
Here are 10 key points to consider before starting your PR campaign.
1. Identify the core reasons for your campaign. Is it to better establish your brand; ensure your name is foremost with potential clients; raise your profile in the market; support a push into the market; establish your company as an industry leader; all of these and more? From these fundamentals your key messages can be devised and delivered.
2. Ensure your messages align with your ongoing business plan. The messages and image you create now will be those associated with your company going forward. Your campaign should be ongoing and it should be aligned with your marketing to support your business as it grows and progresses. Getting the core messages right at the start is vital.
3. Research the market: what are your competitors doing? What degree of coverage are your rivals getting? Are you stealing a march or catching up? Where are they appearing? Do you want to be in the same places or are there better ones for you to target?
4. Establish who will be your main spokesperson. It is important that the person you choose has the time, commitment and full backing to speak on behalf of the company. Ideally it should be your CEO or MD.
5. Make press releases eye-catching. Less is more. Keep your releases to the point and on message. No journalist has the time to wade through pages of text looking for the story. Make your headline striking – you need to catch journalists’ attention just as they need to catch their readers’ – and sum up your message between the headline and the first paragraph.
6. Arrange face-to-face meetings. Great PR is built on relationships. So meeting with the press is essential, particularly if you want to establish a long- term campaign. Always have your spokesperson do the meetings and always turn up with a story to impart. Journalists will feel more inclined to take time out of their busy day to meet with you if you can give them something newsworthy to write about when they get back to the office.
7. Don’t fall through the cracks. Know when your target media goes to press. Don’t expect to get much attention paid to your press release if you send it on press day – unless you have some industry-rocking news to impart. Most of this industry’s news-focused trade publications send out alerts one to three times a day. Find out what time they go out and what time you’ll need to send your copy through if you want to stand a chance of having your story covered.
8. Include social media. Consider how you can enhance your campaign using social media. Ensure your spokesperson’s LinkedIn profile is up to date and has a picture, and set up a Twitter account and follow your target journalists so you know what interests them. If something they say interests you send them a direct tweet.
9. Never think the media will write what you want them to. Journalists have a job to do – to attract readers to their publication. They are often in competition with rival titles to get the best news and to get it first. Consequently, what you may consider interesting news may not be what they want to write about. Also, if bigger news hits the market at the same time as your press release don’t be surprised if that gets the coverage instead.
10. Don’t give up and plan ahead. Not even the big name companies get media coverage with every one of their press releases. Review your release to make sure it delivers what it should in the way that it should. Don’t give up. And plan ahead. If you know you have a newsworthy event on the horizon make sure media relations forms part of your overall strategy.