Capturing media coverage is tricky. Even when you’ve cultivated relationships with members of the media, cutting through the clutter typically means focusing on the negative. Promoting magazines in an “if it bleeds, it leads” media environment is both formidable and fundamental. How can publishers harness the media’s influence to promote their publications?
Make your story compelling
It’s all about a persuasive pitch. To have a shot at cutting through the noise long enough to grab a headline, focus on making your pitch engaging, relevant, and timely. Look for stories relevant to your publication and the news of the day — or an angle one of your media contacts is working. Remember, it’s the people behind the story journalists will find compelling, so think of your story idea from a human-interest perspective, and make your pitch concise and engaging.
Timing is everything
Consider your media communications strategy from the perspective of the outlets you’re targeting. Breaking news will always supersede stories perceived as less relevant. Publishers can gather, analyze, and apply data about when, where, and how to issue their press releases for maximum effect, but even the best data goes right out the window in the wake of big, breaking news.
Keep an eye out for slow news days, and be as strategic as possible. It’s impossible for anyone to predict “we interrupt this program” stories, but it’s relatively simple to avoid scheduled news events, like hot-topic celebrity interviews and high-level press conferences. The flexibility necessary to capture modern media attention is frustrating. For successful PR initiatives, publishers will need fortitude, perseverance, solid media contacts, the right story, and yes, a certain amount of luck.
Play the long game
PR is more marathon than sprint. While the media reports in snippets, relationships with media contacts should be consistent and long-term. Publishers should develop media relationships to position themselves, their publications, and their writers as go-to subject matter experts.
Every relationship takes work. Cision’s 2021 Global State of the Media Report offers the following tips to maximize media relationships:
- Do the homework to match the right story to the right publication.
- Keep track of trends, and time press releases to capitalize on the media environment.
- Contact individual journalists when they prefer to receive story ideas. There is data about journalist preferences on this point, but relying on relationships is much more effective than playing the odds.
- Plan stories in advance, and share those plans with media contacts. Making things easier for journalists is key to building long-term professional relationships.
- Be a reliable, and responsive, resource — for facts, graphics, quotes, citations, etc. — every step of the way.
- Don’t be a nuisance. Give journalists a minimum of two days to review a press release before reaching out again.
Publishers should connect with potential contacts on social media. Follow their work, and leverage hashtags, such as #PRrequest and #JournoRequest to alert media to any breaking news from or about your publications.
Show your value as a source by approaching PR efforts from the journalist’s perspective. PR and media relationships are quid pro quo. Does a story have particular relevance or a unique perspective to offer? Will reporting it reflect well on the journalist? Coverage relies almost as much on relationships as it does on the news.
Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to ask how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.