It’s summertime and the living is easy! Jump in – the water is fine! But, have your life jacket and compass handy. You’ll need to know how to navigate rolling media waves.
Up front, writing news copy, also known as press releases, can really be quite easy. The components include headline, summary, dateline, lead paragraph, body copy, final paragraph, boilerplate information, and press contact information.
In this 500-800 word document you are going to cover the 5Ws of your news – who, what, why, where, and when. You will be weaving your story with fact-filled threads – connecting your announcement to timely news trends.
Some of the benefits of media outreach include free and credible third-party promotion, helps build rapport and may generate leads in your local community and nationwide; and you can take your news and the coverage it generates and repurpose the copy in your other marketing strategies.
For example, include it on your ‘Media Room’ or ‘In the News’ section of your website. Provide a link to your article via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Place the copy on your letterhead and then print and distribute. If you are featured in a magazine, order the reprints from the publisher and include it in your media kit. Send out the news content to your customers in email blasts or monthly e-news.
Yet, in order to get quality media coverage for your business on a regular basis, you need to follow PR guidelines and best practices.
1 Respond to a Reporter’s Inquiry in a Timely Fashion
Their follow-up may take any of the following avenues: a phone call asking for an interview or a sample; an email detailing a story they are working on and how your specific feedback on the topic might fit in; or it could be a combination of both. If someone is screening your calls, alert them to ask for the reporter’s name, title, publication, and best way to reach them.
2 Immediately Respond to the Inquiry… Not in One Hour… Not in 24 Hours… Within 15 Minutes of the Request.
All media are on deadline. Typically they are working on features over one to three days. They put out their feelers to a number of respected resources (i.e. someone who has been sending them news on their specialty over some time). Maybe three to five companies are contacted, and its first come, first serve. Even if you cannot talk at that first response time, set the time for your interview within 24 hours.
3 Have Your Media Kit Ready to Send Them
Let them know you will be emailing supporting company materials, i.e. your PDF Media Kit covering all the basics of your business with key personnel photographs. Your interview time should not be spent on company facts; it should be spent on how your news is relevant to the story they are writing. When they need to mention who you are in the article, they will copy-paste from your media packet or boilerplate.
4 Be Prepared with Notes for the Interview & Allow to Not be Disturbed
During your phone interview, have your media kit in front of you. Have brief notes on your thoughts on the topic you will be discussing. Notify your staff you are unavailable until you are off the call. Turn off your cell phone. Have bottled water on your desk, and be prepared to have some quiet time five to 10 minutes before the scheduled call. Immediately following the call, write up a brief on what you covered. If the reporter has asked you to send along any materials, do it right then.
5 Never Ask Outright to Review Their Write Up or Story
You may say, “I’d be happy to review and fact-check your piece before it goes to publication.” This is where you can correct the year your company was founded, how many employees you have, the formal name of the award you won in 2014, etc. In review back, only submit facts updates. Do not object to the writer’s opinion or story line. As I have told many a client – there is no such thing as bad PR.
READ MORE AT WOMEN’S VOICES MAGAZINE