How not to get media coverage for your business

Published in Denver Business Journal By Korisa Geiger

Have you ever heard the lines below, whether from clients, co-workers in another department or someone who has NEVER done media relations? Media relations is part art, part science, part sales. Here are some tactics many people think are the best way to pitch a story to the media. If you’re a media relations professional, you’ll recognize these statements and maybe get a good laugh.

“I’ll call my friend who works there and he’ll run my story about my awesome new product.” If only it were that easy.

Relationships are key, but it isn’t just about who you know. You have to familiarize yourself with the publication, the reporter’s writing style, what they like to cover and how they like to be pitched. Like any relationship, you have to build trust and partnership. If you take the time to know the reporter and what they like to cover, you won’t waste your time pitching a story they won’t run. Of course, once in a while, we all have to pitch a dud, but except in those rare circumstances, find another reporter.

“Sending a press release is the way to pitch a reporter.” Would you be interested in reading a 400-word press release if you had two interviews to conduct, five articles to write and just got word of breaking news? Probably not.

To get a busy reporter’s attention, the best thing to do is to draft a pitch and make sure it’s short, clear and to the point. Include a URL, an image or something they can review quickly to determine whether they are interested.

“Email and call the reporter every day and they will eventually respond.” You’re not looking to get a restraining order, are you? Then leave those methods to a stalker.

Try different means of contact — Phone them, reach out with a tweet, start a dialogue by commenting on one of their blogs or LinkedIn discussions about a topic they’re writing about. Again, the key is to learn what that reporter likes to cover to be sure you’re pitching the right one with the right story. Once you connect with a reporter, be sure to find out how they prefer to be pitched and on what day.

“I advertise with them, so they should give me a full-page article.” A reputable publication keeps its advertising and editorial departments separate. If you want coverage by the editorial department, familiarize yourself with the publication, develop a compelling story angle and target the right reporter to whom you can pitch the story. Again, make sure you’re familiar with what that reporter covers.

These are just a few examples of what media relations professionals sometimes hear. If you’ve heard any other interesting comments, please share.

To view this article published in the Denver Business Journal, click here.

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