Most people recognize that to draw in new customers their business requires greater amounts of constant exposure.
In the digital age, there are countless ways to do this: blog posts, social media, YouTube videos, and more.
However, one of the greatest and most reliable returns comes from media coverage.
Should a journalist decide to showcase your company in a positive light to readers, you will see new customers.
The question is:
How do you get media coverage?
For the answer, we spoke with Kevin Benz, head of i-Media Strategies.
How to Make Your Company Newsworthy
The initial challenge for most companies looking to gain media attention is the inability to think of anything particularly newsworthy about their business.
There are no upcoming events.
They have not launched new products or services.
They assume journalists have no reason to contact them.
Kevin says this mindset stems from a major misunderstanding on the part of business owners.
It leads them to think the roadblock is, ‘I want to get a story done on my business.’
This is an acceptable end goal, but it is also a very difficult one.
It might never happen.
To put it simply, most journalists will never have any reason to do a story about your business.
Instead, Kevin says:
You need to be thinking about how you can participate in stories that are about your subject matter.
As an example, Target was the victim of a massive data breach years ago which made headlines all over the world.
If you are a digital security expert, this is the type of story from which you could gain media exposure.
It is not about your company—thankfully—but about your expertise, which makes you a valuable contributor to the story.
You can talk about:
- How this type of data breach occurs
- What could have been done to prevent it
- What it means for customers and other third-parties
- Legal ramifications for anyone involved
These are things which journalists want to include in their stories but do not already know.
They need someone who can give them vital details.
And that is an amazing opportunity for an expert like you.
What Problem Do You Solve?
This simple question is one of the first Kevin asks his consulting clients.
Their answer explains how they can best position themselves for exposure.
As Kevin put it, to gain attention from media outlets, you must have a fundamental understanding of how they operate.
News media is looking to do stories that contribute to the well-being of the people in the communities they serve.
The better you can help them do that, the easier it will be to find opportunities for media coverage.
The answer is your entry into a relationship with people from the news media.
In other words, you want to tell them:
Because of my success in X, I can help your audience better understand Y.
What Are You an Expert at Doing?
Of course, journalists only want the opinions of experts.
You may have opinions about a certain subject, but journalists need to sell you as an expert to their consumers.
Otherwise, why would anyone listen?
Fortunately, as a business owner, this is easier than you think.
You are where you are because of the unique expertise you have been able to leverage into a business.
What if a Certain News Outlet Already Has an Expert?
Does your favorite news outlet always turn to the same expert for stories about your field?
If so, Kevin says not to worry.
That is no reason to give up seeking media exposure from that channel.
The likelihood is not so much that the reporter is loyal to someone. The likelihood is that the reporter hasn’t found anyone else to talk to.
Furthermore, journalists are incredibly aware of how it looks when they are constantly referencing the same people for certain stories.
They want diverse perspectives and to avoid churning out similar stories over and over because they come from the same sources.
But, this does not mean you should position yourself as a superior source.
There is no need to discredit the other expert.
In fact, there is no need to reference that person at all.
Instead, let the journalist know you have noticed they often cover the relevant topic and that you can offer a unique perspective.
What Are You Best at Doing?
This question is vital because it speaks to differentiation.
If you are the same as everyone else in your field, how do you attract customers?
How are you uniquely different?
What are you best at doing?
You need to take the same approach when dealing with the media.
Why should journalists desire your opinion over others in your field?
Include this in the message you use to position yourself.
The Price of Earned Media
It isn’t free in terms of time and commitment. It takes effort and commitment to build those relationships where the news media immediately thinks to contact you when issues arise.
That said, with other options—like content marketing—the ROI on earned media is especially high because you do not need to make the same kind of financial commitment.
To Kevin’s point, you need to take time to:
- Know your audience: What are they interested in reading?
- Figure out what type of media is best for reaching them (industry-specific magazines, television newscast, newspapers): Where are they already going for their information?
- Find the reporters you need to reach out to and build a relationship with: Who are the reporters that provide this information?
Media Coverage Should Be a Marketing Goal for All Companies
Media coverage should become a major marketing goal for your company in 2018.
One thing Kevin stressed was that seeking media coverage should be a priority for all companies: large, small, B2B, B2C, and nonprofits.
By leveraging the above tips into a plan unique to your particular business, you will soon enjoy the results of greater exposure.