Want to get media attention for your business but not sure where to start? It can all feel a bit overwhelming when you’re not sure what to do or how to go about it, can’t it? All that jargon just makes it worse. And, if you’ve already tried to get media attention and not got results then you’re probably beginning to wonder, why bother?
The good news is that it doesn’t have to feel that way. There are five simple questions that you need to answer to kick start media attention for your business – relevant whether you’re just starting out or trying to improve on what you’ve already been doing. They are essential because the answers will enable you to:
- Understand what journalists want
- Identify the stories and views you have that journalists will be interested in
- Find where your target journalists are so you can connect with them
- Approach your key media contacts in the right way to get noticed
- Build your reputation and profile.
So, let’s get straight to the point and delve into those five questions.
5 questions you need to answer to kick start media attention for your business
1. What am I trying to achieve?
This doesn’t need to be complicated but you do need to have a clear idea about what you are trying to achieve and why. The clearer you are about what you want people to do after seeing your interview, or reading an article about your business, the more effective your activity will be. It’s all too easy to get swept up with the idea that any media attention is a good thing. That is simply not true.
It makes no sense to focus on media attention for the sake of it – that’s just a waste of time and effort. You want people to notice you but you may need to educate them about your business and what you offer. That makes a huge difference to the approach you need to take – press releases, expert articles, commenting on other people’s news – or a combination. So, write down the reasons for wanting media attention – to do what – raise awareness, change opinion, educate?
2. Who do I want to target?
We’re not looking at specific journalists or media outlets yet, that’s one stage removed. At the start the focus has to be on who you want to communicate with and to. Potential customers may be top of your list but what about current customers, your peers, competitors, the local community and those you could potentially collaborate with? It’s also important to break down your audiences. So, for example, for potential and current customers – what are the characteristics that define them – do they fall into groupings depending on the product or service they need or use or the particular stage they are at, how does that influence the way you can communicate with them?
3. What do I want to say?
Once you have a clear idea of who you want to target with your media work then you need to define the key things you want to say to them. Think of it as the messages you want them to remember about you and your business. Each message should be very short and concise – to make it easy to remember and easy to get across. This isn’t about repeating the same words over and over again – you’ll need to find different ways to get the same points across. They key is to have a clear idea about what you’re trying to convey to the audiences you want to target. It keeps your media activity focused and, when you do get coverage and profile, you can see if you are getting your messages across or not.
4. Where do my key audiences go for their news and information?
Have a think about who you want to target and get inside their head. You need to know where they go to get their news and information that’s relevant to your business. If you don’t know then ask them – a survey is a great way to get that kind of insight and will save you a lot of time and hassle. If you are targeting potential customers then ask others who are targeting the same audiences but offering different products or services – tapping into their knowledge and experience can be really helpful. Online research is also a great way to find the media outlets, and journalists, you should consider.
5. What do the media want?
To know, and understand, what to give journalists and how to approach them you need to have a clear idea about what they want. The best way to tackle this is to do two types of research:
- General news awareness and understanding
Watch, listen to and read the news every day for a week and pick out the common themes that come up time and again – the elements that make a news story. Looking at how one story is portrayed across different media outlets is also very useful to help get inside the head of the journalist. Read the ‘news in brief’ sections to see how concisely the key elements of a story are conveyed.
- Target media
Once you have found the press and media outlets you want to target then go deeper with your research. Watch the programmes, look at the publications and websites to get more insight and to find the named contacts. Only focus on a handful of contacts. The aim is to get detailed knowledge and understanding so that you can build up a picture of how they work, what they like and how to approach them, and to contact and engage them before you pitch.
You will have much more success by laser focusing, initially, on a handful of media contacts in this way than with sending out press releases and email pitches to hundreds of names on a list. This more detailed research will also uncover opportunities you may not have considered for getting media attention – sharing your story, case studies, comment pieces, contributing guest blogs. You can always build up the number of contacts you want to target but starting small will get you better results, for the time you have available, and build your confidence.
Think about it – if you have this level of insight into what your key media contacts are interested in then it makes your pitching much more targeted, tailored and focused. And, that will set you apart from the majority of other entrepreneurs and small businesses vying for media attention who won’t do that degree of research, won’t it?
In a nutshell: Media attention for the sake of it is a waste of time and effort. Focus on what you want to achieve, who you want to target, the messages you want to get across and then immerse yourself in the press and media to understand what your target journalists want.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing in getting media attention for your business?