How to get media coverage

Gaining press coverage can be a game-changer for any business. Getting your story in the media will help you raise brand awareness and boost sales. But what does it take exactly? This guide will explain how to get media coverage using a press release. As we'll see, there is quite a lot to it, and there is no one easy way to get a press release published.

published: October 7, 2022
updated: March 3, 2023

What is media coverage?

Media coverage is gaining exposure in print, radio, press, or other media.

Online media includes blog articles, video content, RSS feeds, and social media. The coverage itself can be positive, negative, or neutral. Media coverage can raise brand awareness, boost sales, impress stakeholders, or draw attention to a cause.

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The difference between paid, owned, and earned media

Examples of paid media include running advertisements, paying to be featured in a news story, or other types of sponsorship, such as an article or guest blog.

Owned media refers to any media you own and can control. So, your website and social media channels, for instance. Or brochures.

Earned media is when the press covers what you do without charging you a fee, for example, by using PR tactics like sending a press release to a journalist who then writes up your news.

Why media coverage is vital for companies

Positive media coverage should be an integral part of any marketing strategy. It gives you the chance to convey your strengths and expertise. It can also turn customers and stakeholders into brand advocates, as they see how well you’re doing. It also comes from a third-party source, making it more convincing and more credible in the eyes of the reader. Media coverage highlighting your position in the market as a critical thought leader can increase sales.

Here are some reasons why media coverage is essential:

1. Boosting brand awareness

Limiting your marketing to your website or other owned media means you will likely only engage those who already know what you do. Getting media coverage will expose your brand to a larger audience than you would otherwise have reached. Media coverage can help you reach interested people to learn more about your product.

2. Unprompted brand recall

What comes to mind if you were asked to name a famous technology company?

If you were to survey 100 people on the street, you would probably hear the same few brands.

This question, when asked to customers, is called unprompted brand recall. The more likely a customer remembers your brand, the higher the recall, and the more successful the brand is. Maintaining media coverage helps increase the customer's ability to name your brand when asked about a specific industry.

3. Increase sales

Through media coverage, you can influence consumer buying behavior. Highlighting product features in the media can also demonstrate the strength of your brand. With more brand awareness comes more sales.

4. Fundraising

Stellar media coverage can lead to successful fundraising rounds. This is especially true for startups needing capital to launch, but also for any business looking to grow.

Media coverage is ideal for showcasing your capabilities to venture capitalists and angel investors.

You need to persuade them that you are a safe bet and a low risk, only then will they back you. Putting your product or service in front of people increases these odds. It puts you in the spotlight and persuades people you passed the ‘social proof’ test. Getting these people interested can be difficult, but with the right media coverage, they will be knocking on your door.

5. Expanding into new markets

Picture this. Your startup has successfully grown, and you’ve enjoyed success in your primary market. You are now looking seriously at expanding into new territories. As you know by now, you have a better chance of getting people interested in your product or service if they see you in the news or read about you first. You can reach new markets and grow your business more quickly than your competitors through media coverage. It is also a great way to differentiate you from the competition as you chase similar audiences for market share.

6. Showcasing your thought leadership

Thought leadership refers to sharing your opinions with audiences keen to hear what you say on a topic and who may take something away from it.

Thought leadership goes a long way to cementing trust in your brand.

For this reason, media coverage is vital, as it spreads your insights to a wider audience and expands your professional network. It helps you become instantly recognized whenever a new discussion point affects your industry, increasing the positive media coverage about you and promoting the organization as a credible source with something valuable to offer.

7. To draw attention to a cause

You can promote your event to a wider audience by engaging the media, regardless of the cause you campaign for.

Gaining media coverage is a great way to spread your message and increase donations and awareness.

You can promote it to engage audiences, inspire them, and draw wider attention. If you receive the right press coverage, your event will become more visible and attract more attendees. Your event, cause, and organization may also gain legitimacy due to media coverage and succeed in raising your profile for the future.

8. Credibility

People will see you as more credible and trustworthy if your brand is mentioned in a respected media outlet that targets your audience. Remember, you’re going for impact. When an independent party talks positively about your business, it is much better than if you were to speak about it yourself. When people see positive media coverage about your brand, they think there must be a reason for it. They assume the outlet chose to write about your brand, not a competitor, for a reason. It puts you in an excellent light. It also shows your relevance.

Media coverage can reinforce your brand identity. It can help get a compelling story out in the public realm and be used to show the brand's mission. Favorable coverage can build a reputation by making you sound like an industry leader.

How you get media coverage

1

Research journalists

You should begin by researching the names of publications that can give you coverage within your field. Check for related articles published in the last few months. Make a list of these. Then, find the author and privately reach out to them. The author could know the topic and be interested in covering it further. Make sure to personalize the message for more effective outreach.

It is better to seek relevant individuals and write a custom pitch for each than pitch to a general publication.

Freelance journalists are often a good bet. Potentially, you can receive a variety of placements instead of just in one outlet, and freelancers are keen to get their stories picked up. Building rapport with journalists means, over time, you can leverage these relationships for mutual advantage. When done correctly, it can be very effective. Below, we look at how best to get media attention.

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2

Leverage social media channels

These days, journalists use social media to find trends and get ideas for stories. Therefore, post newsworthy items on your social pages. It may help get an article written about you. You can also follow reporters and outlets to see what they post. If the favor is returned, it can help your credibility.

3

Consistent branding across all channels

Pay attention that your logo, tagline, tone of voice, and communication style are consistent across all media types. This helps build a strong, recognizable brand. Be sure you convey who you are, what you do, and your values.

This is especially important if you are also buying media. Use your brand guidelines and style guide to ensure that all channels are consistent. Doing this with internal assets, such as your intranet, and externally on outdoor ads and digital content is essential. It must be up-to-date and consistent with the message that aligns with your brand's vision. If your brand's website uses a slightly different version of your logo than your brand's social media profile, it won't give a journalist a great perception of you.

4

Pay attention to trends and topics of discussion

You can use Google Trends to create newsworthy content by monitoring interest and popularity. Media monitoring lets you see what people say about your brand, your competitors, and other topics or keywords related to your business. Google Alerts can help you understand your audience and competitors and, if used wisely, can increase the chance of you getting media coverage.

5

Work for journalists

Reporters work to strict deadlines and are bombarded with pitches from brands wanting to get published.

Make their job a little easier by providing all the necessary information and parts of the story.

This will make it a lot less time-consuming for them. Helping this way may also increase their likelihood of wanting to work with you again, and you may find them trying to track you down.

6

Concentrate on the pitch

If you want to learn how to write a press release, being original is priceless and will always be in demand. It may be an original subject or a different angle on a topic. Either can help you get noticed. Provide data. Journalists love data!

Use your own data or research to provide some interesting statistics.

Pitch original content that's tailored to the publication that you're targeting. Also, provide visuals. Far from just looking pretty, visuals can help tell a story and aid the reader's understanding. Visuals help you stand out. Infographics can help you get media coverage and are a great way to get media attention.

Learn more about how to write a press release
7

Send actual samples

The sample can be an incentive. By offering a complimentary product sample to reporters, they can review your product in their publication. This helps if you are a smaller business and need to get your foot through the door.

8

Check competitors

You need to be bold and proactive to get press attention. Check the PR coverage your competitors have received and who, if anyone, assists them. You can often find this out on their press pages or socials. As they've already covered similar businesses, take advantage of this and contact these outlets.

9

Don't be frightened to just ask

Sometimes, asking can help. Reach out to a media outlet and ask if they would be interested in covering your news. Be polite and persistent. It will soon pay off.

10

Newsjack and exploit other natural opportunities

One other method that could succeed in getting you media coverage is newsjacking. This involves using a topical news story or discussion to boost your brand. A definition from Tech Target is "the practice of aligning a brand with a current event in an attempt to generate media attention and boost the brand's exposure". You need to think carefully about how this can be accomplished and how you can relate it to your business. While it presents risks, it can reap high rewards, help generate interest in your brand, and get you in the news.

Learn more about newsjacking
11

Answer journalist queries

Some services can provide media coverage. Sites like HARO (widely used in digital PR campaigns) connect journalists to sources, who offer their opinions and expertise on a matter that the journalist can use in their story to increase credibility and legitimacy. If your answer gets picked up, you and your company receive a backlink to your website, thus driving traffic and promoting your brand. Another similar platform is Terkel. By using multiple platforms, you increase your chance of receiving a backlink. Potentially, you can get twice the publicity and reach an even bigger audience.

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12

Follow-up after two days

Part of being consistent in trying to get published is to get consistent in following up. Have a set procedure in place. Reporters are inundated with emails from people wanting them to cover their stories. They need to prioritize these.

We advise following up after two days to avoid getting lost in their emails.

Answer any questions you receive as thoroughly as possible. Ensure your replies are timely, clear, and personalized. This will make it easier for them.

13

Multiple avenues

To get published in the media, use multiple avenues and work with multiple journalists.

Working with only one journalist can be a risk. By working with as many different people as possible, you can answer more queries and share the views or expertise of others to increase your chances of obtaining coverage. Choosing representatives from various companies should ensure a wide range of experiences and credentials are covered.

14

Check what works and what does not

Your brand awareness and market presence can be improved by analyzing media coverage. Website traffic and backlinks are a great way to monitor your media coverage. Check social media platforms for likes or increased followers.

Mistakes in media pitching

1. Harassing reporters

While you must follow up with reporters and chase them to get coverage, calling every hour on the hour and emailing them daily is not recommended.

Think how you would react if it were the other way around.

This approach would not make you want to publish the story. The strength of your message alone is what will get you the coverage. Follow up two days later and possibly two days after that. Then leave it. It probably isn't the right time. Recognizing and valuing a journalist's time helps in the long run. Trust me.

2. Get frustrated

It is easy to get frustrated when you feel your efforts are being ignored and you have something of value to share. Try not to take it personally. Stay professional in emails and over the phone, even if you don't like what you hear. Not every attempt will work. You will eventually find a reporter to cover your story.

3. Change messaging suddenly

It's essential to be consistent with your branding and messaging. It needs to align with your company strategy and brand development. When contacting reporters, it is tempting to focus on the newsworthy element and to attempt to sell your story this way. It is crucial, however, to be consistent with your messaging as a brand. This is because it helps reporters learn about you and perceive you in a certain light over time. This will strengthen your likelihood of getting published as they understand your story.

4. Not following up

Congratulations! You've secured media coverage. Job done, right? Well, actually, no. In today's highly competitive market, even after a journalist publishes your news, you'll miss an opportunity to stand out if you don't take advantage of the coverage. Use social media platforms and more traditional forms of marketing, like emails, to extend the impact of positive media coverage. It will make people want to learn more.

Learn more about the difficulties of media pitching

Conclusion

Knowing how to get press coverage for your business requires planning, regardless of your chosen method. You need to decide what you want to say and how you want to say it. Your content needs to be original and newsworthy. Determine which media outlets and journalists are most relevant. List media contacts and build a relationship with them. It would be best if you were proactive and reactive. Keep your ear to the ground, put systems in place for monitoring the media landscape, and be ready to act!

Learn more about media monitoring
October 7, 2022
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Matias Rodsevich
Matias Rodsevich
CEO of PRLab
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