Gaining valuable media coverage for your business or brand can be a useful aspect of your marketing plan. Reaching a broader, more diverse audience does not only increase your pool of potential clients but also has the possibilities of leading to an increased investor and partner interest in your company.
Moreover, attention from the media can also help you craft your personal brand and amplify your credibility as an entrepreneur and show off your expertise, and this can ultimately lead to speaking gigs and potential sales.
Many local businesses, such as YOCO and SweepSouth, employ smart tactics to utilise media coverage to amplify their messaging as well as raise brand awareness.
Media Coverage as a marketing objective
Public relations companies work behind the scenes to garner media coverage for their clients via press releases, articles and interviews. Their core goal is to communicate their client’s business positioning.
Every business has a unique and exciting story to tell, but it’s how the story is told which truly matters.
By adding media coverage to your marketing plan, your small business can:
Position itself as an industry thought leader.
Raise awareness for your company and brand.
Stand out from the competition.
Foster a bank of trust and goodwill.
Adequate media coverage should never be seen as a quick fix to bolster sales. Sound media relations and securing sufficient coverage should form part of the entire marketing realm. It doesn’t help anyone if your brand receives numerous mentions in the media, but your product isn’t ready for launch or if your receptionist or team members are abrasive.
How To Prepare To Work With The Media
1. Determine what you want to tell the media. What you divulge should always align with the current news cycle. For instance, perhaps the National Budget Speech is being delivered, issuing a release stating how you, as a small business owner desires to see your industry benefit is a smart move.
2. Develop your key messages before any interview. Your key messages are your striking points which you want your audience to leave with, which entices them to engage with your company.
3. Know the target audience of the specific media outlet. Direct your core messages to them. Sending out a press release on plumbing to a technology publication is not advisable as it will show that you don’t know the publication’s niche and it might also show that you don’t value their time.
4. Develop your stories with a human element. Perhaps you’re developing a new app, consider doing a live demonstration for the audience to gauge how it can benefit them.
5. Be selective as to the publications you approach. If you have a technology-related story, select a publication that you feel is best aligned for the release and engage with them exclusively.
Selecting a publication or media portal
1. Ensure that you read daily, weekly and monthly publications. By doing this, you’ll develop a feeling for the various styles of each portal, the kinds of stories they publish and who the editors and journalists are.
2. Watch TV and listen to the radio. Every presenter or anchor has a unique style, so it’s wise to know before an interview what to expect.
3. No business is entitled to or guaranteed space. This applies to all forms of media. Unless you’ve paid for it via advertising or an advertorial, you are not guaranteed time on-air or on-page. Businesses need to work hard for coverage and ensure they have fresh content for publications to share.
Contacting the media
1. The are several media outlet lists available online. Take the time to Google and research, and you’ll find a plethora of publications open to submissions.
2. We also recommend being old school and cold calling the various media houses in South Africa.
3. Never troll journalists or publications on their social media platforms. They’re likely to remember your name and never do business with you, or worse, give your reputation a soured name.
Always strive to be authentic when approaching any media outlet. Take the time to ensure that your content is newsworthy by linking it the news cycle. Sending out press releases which are solely focussed on your company and product is seen as advertising and might not be published. In fact, it might annoy journalists who might in future decide not to use any of your content, regardless of how great it is. Respect the media and never bad mouth them, whether in public or online. Lastly, never miss deadlines and never be late, be early, patient and amiable.