Every day publications of all description need words to fill their pages. Someone has to provide those words, it might as well be you! When seeking to get your story into print, a successful media campaign can really make a difference.
Let’s assume that you’ve either followed all the guides on preparing media material, or you have hired a professional and experienced media person to prepare your publicity material for you.
Don’t limit yourself to the daily newspaper: unless you’re in a small community, this is only one of the many media avenues you can follow. Generally the daily media rely on sensation and hard-hitting angles and space in their specialist columns is hard-won.
So think laterally about where your media item or story could go. What are all the publications covering your sector? Magazines, newsletters, email bulletins, inserts in the paper, radio programs. Is there a related market sector that has its own set of publications? A quick check through a reference copy of Margaret Gee’s Media Guide (at your nearest major library) will show you exactly which publications are on offer in your sector and related ones that could help build your media network considerably.
For example, if you’re selling an electronic gizmo, is there an electronics publication that would like your material? At first glance this might not be your customer base, but industry sector publications are fantastic for the rumour mill to spread the word amongst your peers – and potential referrers – that you’re on the move.
Also try the newsletters of industry associations, groups and societies or other representative organisations. These publications are an awesome way to build your profile.
For example, I have a client specialising in harsh environment electronics, particularly suitable for aquaculture. The media campaign involved all the usual targets in that industry – like the Australian Aquaculture Council – but we also included groups like the Australian Society for Fish Biology. Weird? Not really as a huge proportion of that group wants technology to monitor aquatic critters in the wild. Such a specific list was a nightmare to generate, but made once, it is now the backbone of our media program and we are achieving real results (more of this in a future article).
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But there’s more you can do to create a successful media campaign. Again think laterally, this time about how you place your media item. A standard media release issued to an editor will only go so far. To get an airing generally means you have to have something really hot, or an incredibly strong angle, to stand out above the pile of other releases an editor sees daily. Here’s how to get across the line:
- Contact the editor for advice on how they like articles submitted. Ask what angles they like, the length, ask whether they prefer story suggestions or a media release. Would they like these emailed or faxed?
- Find out what all their features for the year are, and write something to suit a special. Call and find out the copy deadlines and submit before it’s due, so that you have time to sort out any issues or queries.
- Consider taking out a small ad to get the relationship going. Usually a magazine will offer free editorial for taking out an ad. This is twice the space in the mag for the price of one ad. Not bad economy, and you get to write what you want.
- If you make a submission, follow up, follow up, follow up. Editors are busy people and your item can get lost.
- Develop a rapport with the editor and the advertising staff. Once they get to know you, they will alert you to upcoming specials, will offer deals on advertising space and might even offer to carry something from you that fits their marketing needs from time to time.
Your understanding of the process and the mechanisms of the media industry is critical – and the tasks can be outsourced. Your knowledge about how YOUR industry works and who listens to who cannot be outsourced – to anybody. Align this information with your business and communications strategies and your media campaign that will cook with gas!