As published by The Gaston Gazette:
(7/24/16) BELMONT, N.C. – We get it – your business has the latest, greatest news and you want to shout it from the rooftops. But before ascending the metaphorical building to share your triumph, there is one pivotal question to consider for success: Share it where?
From product launches to company awards and new hires, business news takes all shapes and sizes. It also requires careful consideration when deciding where best to distribute each worthwhile tidbit. Is a full-scale campaign necessary, disseminating all information across every potential media channel, both big and small? Or is your news item better suited for the local newspaper or a publication specific to your business goals? Yelling from the rooftops may seem ideal, but sometimes whispering quietly to regional media with whom you have a relationship reaps more rewards.
So how do you decide which direction to take? At Lyerly Agency, we regularly work with clients toward managing expectations for coverage, including what’s attainable from local media outlets to big hitters like The New York Times or CNN. However, if conducting a project on your own, here are a few tips for where to begin and the best steps to take as you travel toward roof-shouting:
- Who is your audience? In terms of any public relations campaign, tiny or tremendous, this should always be your first inquiry. Who does your news item ultimately need to reach? No, it is not the journalist sharing your news – he or she is simply the helpful conduit spreading pertinent information. Rather, it is anyone from the end user of your product to a potential client, a restaurant eater or a nonprofit donor. Consider your audience and whether those individuals live nearby, statewide, nationally or even internationally … then, and only then, narrow and target potential publications.
- Think local. Not only are local media in your own backyard, thus often more accessible, but smaller media markets provide a number of opportunities that national or trade communications do not allow without significantly developed relationships. Local is a strong jumping point, first and foremost, for any business who has not yet reached out to media beforehand to create media ties. Local publications and TV – and their audiences – typically find more relevancy in your news as they care about community news and what local companies are regularly accomplishing. Additionally, your region allows for opportunities to cultivate meaningful relationships with local reporters and editors. Professionally connecting with members of the media allows for positive associations when sharing your news as well as expert opinions from you, as a business leader, when story opportunities potentially arise. Lastly, in conducting a campaign beyond regional media, starting with a small reach can occasionally be leveraged to attain additional exposure. By referencing the local publicity already achieved, you can demonstrate interest potential in your news topic to trade and national reporters.
- That national reach. …it’s a challenge. But do not become overwhelmed or frustrated as you take on the task of shooting for the stars among Wall Street Journal or morning talk shows. Although difficult, these national spotlights are possible. First, however, you have to narrow the vast scope of which outlets meet your goals. Do you have a product hitting nationwide retailer shelves? Are you launching a website that has mass interest potential? Examine media as well as the reporters – and pitch well-rounded stories of interest to them. Among national media particularly, reporters want exclusive interviews and news pieces rather than the same snippet shared between them. Target a specific media list of national reporters and know who you are targeting. Sending an athletic-focused press release to the food reporter at USA Today won’t find much traction. Learn a reporter’s goals and match them to your own to achieve the best results when pitching any item nationally. Additionally, national reporters receive many, many inquiries as compared to local or trade media; short and sweet whets the palette and doesn’t waste their valuable time.
- Talking trade. For many businesses, trade media provides a valuable target for reaching potential clients and customers as well as niche peers. Sharing news among these publications can propel a business to “leader” status, which is often as necessary as dollars and cents. Similar to national media, narrowing the precise trade outlets requires time and dedication to ensure you reach the right reporters with your news item. Simply targeting “business” publications is too vast; you must focus sharper to your specific genre, whether it’s the automotive industry, a particular facet of manufacturing or perhaps a category of entertainment. Trade media is massive and there are publications for everything from hot dogs to hibiscus flowers. Ensure you reach the right media to share your story. Also, your business can benefit immensely from cultivating relationships with trade reporters. Trade media, with its concentrated editorial focus, relies on industry experts for emerging trends, knowledgeable quotes and more. Your business may also need to reach these same trade outlets again in the future. Network and build trade relationships as best as possible.
Of course you want the most coverage possible for your news. And of course you want to reach the most readers. But sometimes, the best strategy is thinking small or turning toward your trade rather than using valuable time casting a wide net to every potential listener. Be mindful of your audience, create constructive relationships and strategize wisely and directionally toward the best ears rather than shouting to the masses.
Lyerly Agency’s President and CEO Elaine Lyerly and Executive Vice President and COO Melia Lyerly share their 35+ years of marketing, advertising, public relations and brand strategy experience with readers each month in a column published by The Gaston Gazette.