Creative Ways to Get Media Coverage
This is an interesting topic for me as I’ve been doing charity work for as long as I can remember and getting free media coverage is the name of the game. Nonprofits typically have little to no money, hence the reason for fundraising and we surely don’t have money in the budget for media coverage. I do not claim to be an expert in this field, but I do have a few pointers on the best ways to get media coverage. I should preface this by telling you that my daughter happens to be a news producer for one of the local news stations, but that is not how I learned the ins and outs of getting the best media coverage. Although, she might be interested in covering one of my events or businesses, she still has to present it to her bosses as well as the news talent to see if it is something newsworthy for them. Speaking of newsworthy….that is the key to getting media coverage. Now that we’ve established the key to success, what are the steps that will help get you there? Let’s take a closer look.
First, what makes your business, nonprofit or event any more newsworthy or better than anybody else’s? The truth of the matter is that everyone’s event, business or nonprofit is just as important as yours is, so you must differentiate in some way. How can you do that you might be asking? In my opinion, it needs to be something that appeals to a wide variety of ages or at the bare minimum the target news market in the area. For example, we are a construction/real estate business. What do we have to offer that is newsworthy and appealing to a large variety of people that would result in us getting positive media coverage at no charge? One of the best ways to do this is to get behind a cause in your community. I don’t mean just sponsor something to get your name out there. I mean a real and genuine cause. For us, that is the Women’s Crisis Services of Leflore County. That is truly where our heart is. We helped start the annual Brave the Mud Run to benefit the shelter.
When you find your cause make sure it’s more than just a monetary donation, it must be something you are passionate about and want to be a part of whether or not you gain any media attention. Creating an event such as the Brave the Mud Run works twofold, it gives the shelter needed funding and media coverage and as a result, our business gets positive media coverage. You know the phrase, “It takes a village”. That not only applies to raising kids, it also applies to our communities.
Second, when you do have something newsworthy, present it to the media in a usable and media-ready format. When I send information to the newspaper, either I send it in a press release format or I send it in an interview format ready for print. I make it as easy as possible for them. Often times, they will print as-is or they will call me to ask a few more questions before it goes to print. Not comfortable with writing your own content? No worries, hiring a company such as Cyberspyder to do that for you is well worth the money spent and will save you thousands for paid media coverage.
Third, break through the noise with social media. Social media is your best source of free coverage. This method not only works well when supporting a cause, it is also a way to highlight your expertise.
Giving readers tips and advice not only drives more followers, it also establishes you as an expert in that field. Therefore, when the media needs a quote or comment regarding a current news event you will be at the top of their list to call. Another great strategy is to follow local reporters on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. This allows you to see what the current topic of interest is and will give you the opportunity to comment on things they post. Again, if you need help, hiring a professional is well worth the money spent.
Finally, be nice. When communicating with media personnel, be nice and make the experience as easy as possible for them. After all, no one wants to play with the mean kid on the playground.