Everyone knows the best way to get somewhere you've never been is to follow a map. Approaching the media for publicity is no different. You need to create a plan.
Here's a guest post from Storyteller to the Media Michelle Tennant to help you get pointed in the right direction.
Keeping Your Eye on the Ball When Creating a PR Plan
The biggest mistake people make when
seeking publicity is focusing too much on their own needs and not enough on
our first response when we have news to share is to send out a new release in a
shotgun fashion. But if we focus only on our need for publicity, our eyes are
off the target.
It’s like in baseball where coaches
teach players to focus on the ball they are getting ready to hit. Or dance
teachers who tell ballerinas to look at a
focus point when they are twirling.
To get effective publicity for your
product, service or organization, you have to plan for your audience’s needs.
And your first audience is the
media. You need to be familiar with the media and work to meet their needs.
Broadcast or print?
Although we speak of the media as if
they are one entity, there are big differences between the needs of broadcast
and print, local and national and general and specific media.
Print reporters tend to be serious
journalists who want to educate the public about the topics they cover. They
are interested in getting the scoop — in telling readers what is news, what has
not been said before, and putting it into perspective.
Broadcast reporters are more interested
in the entertainment value of the news they present. Since they are competing
with other visual media to attract viewers, they often seek out news that is
controversial, dramatic or compelling. Otherwise viewers will just change the
Television reporters also are drawn
to stories with great visual images while print reporters seek statistics,
analysis and expert commentary to put stories in perspective.
Both print and broadcast journalists
are looking for ways to illustrate larger national trends and stories, and
reaction from the public and experts to breaking news.
You have to decide whether broadcast
or print is the best venue for publicizing your organization, product or
service. But there is a lot more to deciding your target media.
National or local?
In seeking publicity, are you
looking at consumers on a local, regional or national level?
When you are working with local
newspapers or broadcast media, they are first interested in the local angle —
the person making news or their connection to a local
or national story.
National media often use specific
localized examples illustrate larger trends affecting everyone. A good example
was a piece Good Morning America recently produced using contacts they got
through my firm, Wasabi Publicity Inc.
Good Morning America specializes in
producing great little segments that are entertaining. They were doing a story
on parents who have trouble saying no to their children’s request for money in
This particular segment
focused on parenting tips. They called me
because they needed a family to interview. I was able to connect them with a
family through one my expert clients.
This all came about because I had
sent Good Morning America an email letting them know that I am a resource.
That’s a good illustration of something I always say: it’s not just who you
know, but who knows about you.
General consumer or industry
Ask yourself which media will best
reach my target audience? Do I need to reach general consumers? Then it may be
best to go with TV and radio.
But if yours is a specialized
product or service, your best bet is may be trade publications that deal with
the details of each industry. For instance, my firm recently publicized a new
auto cleaning product through several trade publications.
The point is you should consider
your target audience — the media’s needs and interests — before publicizing
your product or service. That is how to keep your eye on the ball to create an
effective PR plan.
Veteran and Chief Creative Officer of Wasabi Publicity, Michelle
Tennant Nicholson's seen PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. Called a
five-star publicist by Good Morning America's Mable Chan, Michelle specializes
in international PR working regularly with the likes of Oprah, Larry King, BBC,
The Today Show and all major media. Recently she secured a Dr. Phil
placement for a client within eight hours of signing the
contract. Contact her at PR blog http://www.StorytellerToTheMedia.com
where she teaches tips from the trade.