Guest post by L. Drew Gerber
Getting national media coverage in top print, broadcast, or online media can boost your business in ways that are hard to imagine.
A single placement in a glossy national magazine is worth tens of thousands of dollars – sometimes a lot more – and not just in the value of ad space in the publication. Getting covered by national media lends a level of credibility, prestige, and buzz that money can’t buy.
At Wasabi Publicity Inc., we sent out a pitch that landed author Dr. Jill Murray on Dr. Phil’s TV show less than eight hours after she had signed up as a client. Within one week, that same pitch also got her coverage with CNN Weekend News, Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell, and 20/20, as well as interviews with syndicated radio shows and several magazine articles. Sales rankings of Dr. Jill’s newest book But He Never Hit Me shot up to number 16 on Amazon.com and number 23 on Barnes & Noble within hours of her Dr. Phil appearance.
Despite the enormous value of national publicity, many business owners and entrepreneurs don’t understand how to go about attracting the media’s attention. It’s not complicated if you follow these six basic steps:
Brand your message. Be crystal clear about WHO you are, WHAT makes you unique and WHY the media should care. Assure you have a consistent message by having all your press materials ready before the press calls. A great way to do this is to get an online press kit.
We created a technology, PressKit 24/7, which allows people to create press kits simply and easily without any special technical knowledge. More than 90% of journalists prefer to get their information online; therefore, having an online press kit is crucial to giving them the facts they need to cover you, your product, service or business.
Develop your pitch. Pretend you are in an elevator with Anderson Cooper and you have 30 seconds to tell him why he should have you on his CNN show. Your pitch should be concise, reflect your passion and stress what makes you unique. As PR professionals we have found that short pitches are often more effective for getting the media’s attention than long press releases.
Find the media: The Internet provides countless ways to research media that may be interested in you.
Pitchrate.com is a free service we created to connect media and sources. It’s similar to others such as HARO and Reporter Connection.
You can also research media list sites such as MagaGenie.com.
Watch your favorite show and find out the producer’s name from the credits, or read your favorite newspapers and magazines to find out who covers your topic area. When you contact reporters, compliment their work to let them know you have taken the time to research.
Respond immediately. When the media calls or emails expressing interest in covering you, respond immediately! Reporters usually work on very tight deadlines, so the sources that respond fastest with the most concise and useful information are most likely to get covered.
Be prepared. Thoroughly prepare for your interview. Decide what you want to say and practice saying it in short, concise sound bites. This is where professional media coaching can be valuable, since many people have had little experience in front of cameras and microphones.
For a list of media coaches who work with book authors, see http://bookmarket.com/mediacoaches.htm.
Keep it simple. Try practicing what you plan to say in front of an 8-year-old. Really! If you do this and the child can repeat back to you what you have said, you know that you’re communicating in a way that’s easy to understand.
So remember: brand your message, hone your pitch, find your media and give them what they need to make interviewing you interesting and rewarding.
That brings us to a final piece of most important advice: focus on what the reporter needs and how you can provide content that is useful to their audience, rather than hard-selling yourself or your product. Remember, you are getting great publicity for free, and pay it forward!
About the Author
For 30 years, L. Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world. As the CEO of Wasabi Publicity, lauded by the likes of PR Week and Good Morning America, he sparks “aha” conversations that lead to personal and business success.
His PR firm is known for landing clients on Dr. Phil, Oprah, Anderson Cooper, the Wall Street Journal, Inc., Entrepreneur, and other top media outlets.
Wasabi Publicity lives to launch conversations that make a difference and change the world.
Check out his article on How an Online Press Kit Makes the Media’s Job Easier as well.