In a previous post, I talked about the Essential Media Toolkit that your organisation needs if you want to interest a journalist in a story.
But before you even think about contacting editors and journalists to secure coverage, you need to have laid the groundwork and established a media strategy. This is best done with media consultants or PR experts who can help identify stories, potential outlets and who will provide you with a realistic assessment of how to make your strategy succeed.
Here are nine steps you should take when planning your media strategy:
1. Identifying why you want more media coverage and who your key audiences are:
Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to have a far more targeted approach to securing coverage, which is likely to yield far more coverage than a ‘scattergun’ approach. Key audiences may be your customers, your suppliers, those you wish to influence, other businesses, and competitors
2. Identify key publications and programmes to target
Once the initial aims and key audiences have been identified, draw up a contact list containing the names, numbers and emails of key and relevant journalists on every potential outlet for stories – focussing on those read/listened to/watched by your target audience. This might include national and regional media, local newspapers and magazines plus specialist and trade press.
3. Developing consistent key messages for the organisation
It is important that your organisation has a clear identity and brand, and established ‘key messages’ which are consistently presented whenever media opportunities arise. This helps build up recognition and brand awareness and ensures that this is reinforced every time a story is released. If there are particular issues on which your organisation needs to take a view, then work on your key messages for each of these. Test them with working journalists or media consultants
4. Establish a clearance procedure for press material and press releases
This is important, since opportunities for coverage can easily be missed if the process of approval is unclear or protracted. The PR team needs to the ability to be as nimble, proactive and reactive as possible
5. Produce a ‘media toolkit’
This should include biographies of key figures, your organisation’s history, case studies of clients, and interesting photos. This needs to be ready to send out with each news release, even if new case studies and photos may be necessary for individual stories. Seek the permission of clients who might be named, and if possible their agreement to be interviewed, as this provide you with ‘third-party’ endorsement. Establish contact with potential local celebrities (even MPs get lots of coverage in the local media) to ensure that if you are holding an event there are people you can invite who might attract coverage.
6. Establish a social media policy
Social media is becoming increasingly integrated into the mainstream media, and it’s important that any PR or media strategy recognises this and incorporates it.
7. Story Brainstorm Session
Brainstorm potential story ideas and for each one, establish the key elements needed to make them attractive to the media and your target audience. Produce an action plan to make sure the stories happen!
8. Identify potential spokespeople
It is important to have several spokespeople who are prepared to do interviews on your behalf. They need to be clear what the key messages are for the organisation, if necessary to receive media training to ensure they are able to make the most of each interview opportunity.
9. Produce a promotional film
A promotional film and some stock shots which are made available to the media help tell your story in a vivid and compelling way. Availability of footage is a good way of encouraging the broadcast media to cover stories.