Melissa Baratta from Affect PR gives her top tips to boost your media outreach strategy...
If your media relations program is going well and you’re getting a consistent level of coverage, it can be easy to fall into a rhythm that stays within the company’s comfort zone – following a standard flight plan and putting out the same kinds of announcements and content month after month. Doing so for too long, however, can result in a stale PR program and a bored c-suite that eventually asks, is this strategy actually moving the needle for our business?
Whether your media relations program has fallen a bit flat and you need to drum up more coverage, or it’s going well but does little to generate enthusiasm internally, here are a few easy ways to infuse new life into your media outreach strategy.
- Gather New Data
Many companies are sitting on a gold mine of interesting data and they don’t even know it. If your company tracks data such as how customers are using your product/service, where their needs lie or how their end-users are behaving, you could have nuggets of information the media will be interested in. Even seasonal data showing spikes in business can be analyzed and transformed into insights or predictions about how the industry acts during certain time periods. Think about your existing company assets, mine them for useful data, and then use that data to create new marketing content and media headlines.
- Take a Survey
Taking a survey doesn’t have to be a resource-heavy endeavor. Poll five customers to get their thoughts on the latest trends or end-user needs, and turn it into a press release, or survey your top internal experts for tips or industry predictions, and turn it into a byline. Some of our clients have planned, executed and announced survey data in as little as two weeks – all with media coverage to show for it.
- Talk to Customers
Customer references can be used to generate new stories about your company, use cases or industry challenges and solutions. If your case studies are old – or if you don’t have any at all – try going back to a handful of friendly customers and asking them if they’d be open to sharing their story with the media. We recently did this with one of our clients, leading to a 4-interview feature story with the Wall Street Journal. That kind of ROI is worth a quick call or email to your top customers.
- Identify Additional Spokespeople
Think about other executives at the company who may not have been used for media relations recently or at all. Do they have different insights to share? More technical expertise? Perhaps an interesting bio or leadership style? Try interviewing them for 30 minutes and see what you get; that fresh perspective or unique background could be great fodder for a new story angle, a byline, a leadership profile or an ongoing column.
- Create Dream Headlines
Thinking in angles – story angles, that is – can be a challenge. However, if you exercise creativity on a regular basis, it will eventually become habit to develop compelling angles in order to insert your company into stories that it might not be an obvious fit for. One way to do this is to work backwards: start by thinking of a few “dream headlines” you’d love to see in the media – maybe about the company’s differentiators, its product/service offerings, or its leadership, and then think about what kind of hook or angle you would need to get a reporter interested in that headline. Maybe it’s a trend already happening in the media, an example of how this is different from everything else they’ve seen, or a not-so-apparent a reason why this matters to a large audience. Make it a goal to turn these dream headlines into reality and put a special pitch plan behind each one.