This week, I’ve been working with a client to develop a media strategy, so just wanted to share with you how we go about this.
Before we started, I set them the task of working out the three most important ‘key messages’ they wanted the public/potential customers/the media to know and remember about their business. This they’d need to keep in mind when any media opportunities arose.
I asked them to send me any biographies, history of their business, testimonials and other literature they already had in advance, and to bring along to our first meeting any publications they wanted coverage in.
When we met, our first task was to decide why they wanted media coverage: was it to increase sales, inform customers about what they were doing, was it to advertise events held by their business, or was it to raise their profile among customers – or a combination of all three?
In fact, this client is a communications consultancy, so the key aim of increasing their media coverage is to raise their profile among potential clients.
Given their company is solely B2B, and their client-list is all professional organisations, the best way for them to achieve this would be to position themselves as experts in their field – the go-to individuals if a newspaper or specialist publication needs a commentator on presentation skills, interview skills and all the other areas of communications their consultancy specialises in.
The next step was to decide where they wanted media coverage. The key thing is that there is no point gaining coverage in publications which their potential customers didn’t read – or at least didn’t read with a ‘professional’ hat on.
So no point aiming for the tabloids, or magazines, or television. For them, it was the specialist publications read by the different professions their service was targeted at, plus the business pages and supplements of the broadsheet newspapers.
This is where the newspapers and publications we’d brought along came in. Because we then went through these with a fine tooth comb, looking at all the sections, all the columns, all the different pages, to see which types of stories were featured where, where there might be opportunities for our clients to secure coverage.
We did this not only for publications but also for any websites that their potential clients used.
In this particular case, there was little scope on the straightforward ‘news’ pages, unless there was a particular story in the papers which they felt qualified to comment on, in which case they should send a quick email to a relevant journalist offering their views.
No, the best way for this client to raise its media profile would be by placing feature articles in targeted publications and by being quoted in features written by influential journalists.
For this they need to be known to the key editors and reporters who worked for their chosen publications, so we began a ‘media list’, with all their names, titles and contact details, so when the time came we’d have everything ready to go in one place.
We talked then about establishing a clearance procedure for any press contact – who should sign off any press releases being released, or approve any articles that had been written.
Next came the ‘Media Toolkit’. Did they have all the elements in place which a journalist might ask for when writing a story about them, or commissioning them to produce a feature?
Did they have a potted history of their organisation, biographies of the key staff, nice photos of them, both headshots and of them in action, case studies of work they’d done, and testimonials? Then we established an action plan for gathering all this material together.
I set them some home-work: as well as building up their media toolkit, they had to start the process of positioning themselves as experts. The point of this is that if you contact a journalist claiming to be an expert in your field, the first thing they’ll do is Google you. And if you don’t pop up online with evidence of your credentials – a decent website, and articles and blogs which demonstrate your knowledge, you’re far less likely to be taken seriously.
This company of course has a website, but they’re also going to start commenting on articles in the online versions of their chosen publications, and join relevant Linked In groups (ie those used by their potential clients), commenting on discussions and posting their articles.
And that was quite enough for one day, so we set a date for the next stage – and the best stage. And that’s actually coming up with the story ideas, working out the most relevant publication for them and developing treatments for them so no editor in their right mind would turn them down!
If you want help with your media strategy, then give us a call on 020 8332 6200 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.