Are you a startup or a company new to marketing that is looking to get media coverage that will increase your visibility and public awareness of your product or service offerings? If so, there’s some due diligence you need to consider to ensure you are “ready for your close-up” and will put your best foot forward when you begin your outreach to the media.
Before you go to the media, I always recommend that you do the following:
Develop a tight, coherent set of messages that speaks to and will resonate with your target customers. You should focus on explaining the problem you solve, the value proposition behind your solution and what separates you from the competition. These messages should be used consistently across all your external communications. I talk in greater length about message development in my earlier article entitled, “Figuring out what’s in it for the customer.”
Have real news. In particular, have a customer and customer case stories or examples to offer. That is key to getting media attention and, ultimately, coverage.
If you’re a technology company, reach out to the industry analysts to schedule briefings on your solutions or services. Analysts can provide validation (quotes and references for the media) regarding your technology.
Build an active blog, posting regular articles (at least once per week is ideal) that convey your knowledge, expertise and viewpoints on industry trends, conversations and developments. This will establish your thought leadership and capture the attention of industry pundits (as well as customers). If you’re excited about something, write about it and share it with the world and people will come knocking on your door to capture your insights for their own blogs and articles. Active blogging also helps maintain dynamic content on your site that will get you in the upper end of search engine rankings.
Make sure your website has a smart, current and fresh look, and easy-to-navigate pages that are search-engine optimized. When reporters, bloggers, etc. are driven to your website as a result of your outreach to them, you’ll want them to see the image you want to convey and find the information they are looking for.
Establish your presence on the top social networks – LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. If you’re already socializing, then ramp up your activity. You should join as many LinkedIn groups in your industry as possible and consistently follow and participate in the conversations. Try to tweet several times per week and make sure you’re following all your target reporters, bloggers and analysts. Twitter is another way to connect with them and on a level that’s more engaging. If you’re a consumer-oriented company, you want to also be on Facebook to connect with reporters/bloggers as well as customers.
Draft materials such as eBooks, success stories, white papers and data sheets that provide both cogent overviews but also delve deeper into the problems solved and the benefits provided by your solutions. These materials can be circulated to press and analysts to provide them with the full picture on what you offer.
Develop a substantive dialogue among your company’s executive team based on mutual respect and interest in what editors, reporters, freelancers, bloggers and analysts in your industry are writing about. It is that exchange that continues to fuel the insights and excitement about your industry and your company’s contributions to it.
Once you have taken the steps above and you are ready to start getting the word out to the media about your business, you need to think about who will be part of your media outreach. This is an important step.
You want to ensure you contact the right people and have researched who they are, what they write about, their contact preferences and how best to “pitch” them.
To get coverage in the media, you need to focus on building relationships with media contacts and that requires preparation in itself. In my article next month, I will talk about relationship-building with the media and how to put your best foot forward in your media relations to get the media coverage you desire.
Beth Bryant is the owner/principal of BBWrites Strategic Communications in Marlborough, which specializes in providing public relations, marketing communications and copywriting services. She can be reached at [email protected]