Being featured as an expert or a contributor in a news story is a great way to build credibility and set yourself or your company apart from the competition. Publicity helps you reach a wider audience and build your brand or name recognition.
But rather than wait for the media to call you, I recommend that you create a six- or 12-month strategic publicity plan.
Be ready and provide value
It’s important, however, to make sure you are interview ready before you send out your first press release. It’s very frustrating for a reporter, editor or producer to call a lead or respond to a tip and hear, “We’re not quite ready for interviews now. Can you call back next week?” Chances are, they never will. Being ready for an interview may be the most important aspect of your publicity plan.
You need to recognize that today’s media professionals are working in a very demanding and competitive environment. News and entertainment are now available 24 hours a day.
Remember that the position of the media is to offer compelling content to their readers, listeners and viewers. When you provide quality information that is of value to their audience, you make their job easier and increase your chance of media exposure.
Think about the newspaper, magazine, radio show or TV program where you’d like to be featured. What kind of content can you provide that will be of interest to their audience?
If you are a patent attorney, you can offer: “The biggest mistakes people make before applying for a patent.” If you’re in the energy business you can offer: “Seven simple ways to save energy this winter.”
Make a list of 12 problems that you solve, or the biggest challenges of the readers, viewers and/or listeners of the media outlet you’re trying to reach. Once you have a list of the problems, write two to five simple solutions and you’ve created a helpful tip sheet.
Simple is key because most print stories are 500 to 600 words and TV or radio stories are 30 to 90 seconds. Your solutions should be easy to understand and attractive to a wide audience. Create 12 tip sheets and you have an entire year of content for your email newsletter, social media posts and press releases.
Also, when a reporter contacts you to comment on a story, take a moment to think about your already-created content. It may be possible for you or your staff to provide an instant statement from a past newsletter.
Provide additional resources
In addition to helpful content, you also want to provide access to:
- Recent statistics or relevant studies.
- Polls or other important supporting data.
- High quality photos or videos.
- A brief three-line bio of the key people in your company.
Think about ways for you to become a resource for the media. Begin making inquiries and you’ll be asked to contribute again and again.