Getting Great Media Coverage: Our 8 Most Frequently Asked Questions
Today’s media strategy for most PR and Communications teams includes a healthy mix of earned and paid editorial. But it’s the earned media coverage that can be the most challenging, the most frustrating and yet the most rewarding.
When you hit the right media with the right story at the right time, it feels like you’ve hit the jackpot. We get it. We live and breathe it.
Brands want to earn great media coverage. PR agencies want to earn really great media coverage for their clients. And we at 72Point help them achieve it.
As news, content and polling specialists, we bridge the gap between the fast-moving world of media and the high-pressure world of consumer PR. Our survey-led news stories earn extensive coverage for some of America’s leading brands and PR agencies.
We write page-ready news stories and we’re often asked for guidance and advice about how survey stories work, what can and can’t be included in the copy. We’re always honest, and sometimes we have to be harsh because the integrity of our in-house newswire is sacrosanct – and we want the story to work!
Our news team have compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions... and their answers:
Q1. CAN I PUT THE CLIENT’S NAME IN THE TOP LINE OF A STORY?
A. No, absolutely not – unless you are Vera Wang and about to introduce a $100 wedding dress. Company names also are most often seen in the top lines of negative news stories – think BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Norovirus outbreak on a Carnival Cruise Line ship.
Q2. CAN I ADD A PARAGRAPH ABOUT THE PRODUCT AND WHAT IT DOES?
A. Yes, but subtly and include it low down. Also, think about using it in the namecheck, where the accreditation for the research is first introduced and keep it brief.
Q3. CAN WE SEND AN IMAGE ALONG WITH THE RELEASE?
A. Perhaps, but make it a 300DPI image, not a logo. If your product is in the image, make sure it is in context and/or being used so it doesn’t look like a straight product shot. Product shots are for advertisements and you don’t want your story to look like an advertisement, right? You could also send an infographic alongside your release. In fact, we’d recommend it. Infographics are incredibly popular as they sum up the key points of your story in one fun, easy to read image. Plus, news sites will use an image alongside your release anyway so it’s best to make sure it’s yours.
Q4. CAN WE INCLUDE A ‘TOP TIPS’ SECTION?
A. Perhaps. Sometimes news sites will use these in a list at the foot of the copy. But often, if you want to include tips to pass on to the reader, find a way of embedding them in the copy rather than in a list format.
Q5. CAN WE PIGGYBACK ON AN EVENT? (FATHER’S DAY, FOURTH OF JULY, ETC.)
A. You can try – but it’s risky. Every PR agency in the world does this, and most fail miserably. But as a rule, we recommend staying away from putting all your eggs in the piggybacking basket – mixed metaphors we know. Media are wise to this practice and the media is besieged with “relevant” PR stories tied to those events. But we do find that sometimes, it’s the lesser known days when timing your story works best. Your client is an egg producer and it’s National Egg Day? Go for it but make it interesting. If you are being forced to run a Father’s Day story, don’t plaster it with actual name of the holiday. Instead link the product to dads – again, make it interesting, surprising, fun, shocking – and file it about four or five days before Father’s Day. We always say if your story is strong enough it should land on any one of the 365 days of the year, so why narrow your target?
Q6. SHOULD WE THINK OF A WAY TO TIE IN A CELEBRITY?
A. You can. It may help. The papers will include quotes from a celeb in the piece if the link is relevant, AND if the quotes are good. But there is a risk your spokesman’s comments may land on the cutting room floor in favor of those of the celeb, so bear this in mind.
Q7. WHY DO WE NEED TO GIVE A QUOTE?
A. A quote adds weight to your story. Stories that land on news desks lacking quotes give the impression the source of the story does not take it seriously enough to comment on it, or to find someone to comment on it. Consider also adding quotes from a relevant, independent expert who is not connected with the company.
Q8. DO YOU RECOMMEND SELLING THE STORY AS AN EXCLUSIVE?
A. Not often. Why put all your eggs in one basket? If you’re confident in a story, let as many papers get a shot at it as you can. In today’s environment of shareable content, exclusivity for a consumer story isn’t necessary. However, if you have media relationships with the perfect outlet and audience for the story go for it and preferably secure your media partner in advance.
72Point Inc is the American news generation arm of SWNS Media Group. As part of a 50-year-old independent press agency with nine offices and over 100 journalists, we are in a unique position when it comes to securing earned media exposure for our clients.
Contact our team to find out more about our PR surveys and earned media coverage.