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Marketing / Public relations, PR

Media campaign mistakes: what not to do

Many soloists would kill for a story on radio, television, a newspaper or magazine, but before you start your DIY PR campaign, read about what doesn’t work.

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There are many benefits to attracting free media. However, whipping up a quick press release after Googling “How to get free media”, probably won’t work. Here are some things to avoid in your media pR campaign when you’re keen to get a call back from a journalist, editor or producer.

Don’t be too random

There’s an end-to-end process for attracting and maintaining the media’s attention, and it starts with creating your overarching media strategy and devising your more detailed media plan. You need to know where you’re going and why you want this exposure. What purpose does appearing in the media serve for you, your business or your big idea? If you get this media attention, what are you going to do with it?

If you can’t answer these fundamental questions, it’s too early to be pitching to the media. First you need to develop a more strategic approach, then devise your more detailed media plan – and only then should you start pitching.

"If you get this media attention, what are you going to do with it?"

Don’t be too generic

Journalists, reporters and producers receive unsolicited pitches in the hundreds on a daily basis. They can tell which pitches have been mailed out en masse and which have been carefully crafted for their segment, show or publication.

Want more articles like this? Check out the Public relations, PR section.

To be able to tailor your media approach, you need to be familiar with the media landscape in general (for example, what’s hot right now?) and very familiar with the specific segment, show or publication you are pitching. What stories do they usually run? Which ones did you enjoy and why? How does your interesting story or big idea fit with what they usually do? Why would their usual audience be interested in your story?

If you can’t answer these basic questions, your pitch is too generic. Do some more research so you can more carefully craft a tailored pitch.

Don’t think short term

Success in the media is a long-term game. It takes time and focused attention. The other harsh reality is that one media appearance is unlikely to revolutionise your business, even if it is on a big show or in a national publication.

However, a series of appearances created from a long-term vision and through respectful relationships may just be the boost you’re looking for.

To be successful in the media, you need to develop relationships with journalists, editors and producers, just like you do with customers, suppliers and colleagues.

People in the media may be short on time, but they’re people just the same. Your media pitch should be less about what it will do for you and more about what it will do for them and their audience.

Success in the media is possible if you take a strategic, tailored and long-term perspective. Oh, and if you’re prepared to do a little work.

Can you suggest any other traps for new players to the media and PR game?

Please share your media and PR campaign tips below.

Jill  Chivers

helps entrepreneurs to conjure up their own media magic and also runs the world’s first online membership program for women who shop too much and want to stop.

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