Public Relations: Five easy tips to earning media coverage

By Fodhla O'Connell-Grennell

Earning media coverage is not easy in the competitive world we find ourselves living in. It is even harder when you are a small, sustainable business trying to rise above companies who dominate the market.

One major misperception about public relations is that just having events, introducing new products and/or services or having a story makes you more desirable to report on than any other company. However, to gain media attention, a public relations specialist must work very hard to make your business stand out.

Here are five easy tips for earning media coverage and helping you to understand how public relations can position your company as the leading driver in your industry:

Establish your company

If you are the new kid on the block, don’t issue your most important product and/or service launch as your first company announcement. You should focus on establishing your company, learning about your industry and working on making your vision a reality. You need to set the scene by putting your company on other businesses’ and the media’s radars before worrying about gaining exposure. When you are ready to connect your business with the media, make sure you have supporting information, such as, photos, videos, product briefs and other information which a PR professional can supply you with.

Know your media and prioritise your target media

Knowing your media is often one of the most overlooked steps to successful public relations. Studying the media and aligning your business with the media who cover stories similar to yours is a key step to earned media coverage. Once you know your media, you can order it by priority of media who will most likely cover your story. You should put the most narrowly focused media outlets at the top of your priority list and work down to the most general.

Think outside your product or service

Who are your competitors? Do some research on them and you will understand the ‘media market’. You will be able to see what media is writing about what topics that perhaps should include your expert voice or your product and/or service as a viable solution. Go with the flow of what the media are reporting on, appreciate their work and show them why your company should play a role in their story.

Build media contacts

Remember ‘relations’ is short for relationships and this is vital when it comes to earning media coverage. A PR agency must build a rapport with reporters and influencers before pitching a story. Follow their socials and then like, comment and share their posts. Connect with them in person by attending events, like press receptions, charity events and other events where the media are sure to be there. Once you have built these relationships, you can ask them ‘what is the best time of day to reach you?’ and other questions which will make you stand out amongst your competitors.

Understand what makes a good story

Storytelling may seem like a current trend; however, it goes as far back as the cavemen and their paintings. There is no denying the power of a good story, but to be a leader in your industry you need to stand out by being relevant and newsworthy. A human angle always makes your story stronger, as does a moment in time; why does this story need to be told now and not tomorrow? Telling a story that people want to hear will ensure you surge past your competitors who have not achieved the same reaction as you.