Getting Media Attention: It’s All In The Message

April 5, 2010  |  

These are the “big fish” in mainstream American media. Every business would love to be featured (in a positive light) on any of these shows or networks. However, reeling in a big fish is no easy feat. This is where a well-connected public relations firm comes in handy. If you can afford it—and some are more affordable than you may think–they can do a bulk of the work for you. But, what do you do if you’re a small business or solopreneur who doesn’t have the budget to hire outside help? You do like you always do: roll up your sleeves and dig in!

The first step is, of course, building your target media list. If you’re looking to reach local and national television, magazine and newspaper media, a service such as EasyMediaList.com is a fast and inexpensive way to get your list in almost an instant. For niche shows, magazines and newspapers, you’ll likely have to scour the Internet for firms that have compiled similar databases—or find them yourself. (If you know of such a resource, let me know and I’ll share it with others!)

Once you’ve compiled your target media list, you’ll need to focus on what you’re going to say to your media contacts. Think long and hard on this! In my experience, honing your message is key. In that vein, I have four pieces of advice for you:

1. Customize your message! While you can build a template for the type of information you plan to share with each TV outlet, you must customize the message that you actually communicate in order to make it pertinent to the show or station. Be sure to study each TV show’s target demographics, as well as the network on which it airs, to help you determine the most plausible angles to pitch.

2. Keep each TV station’s W.I.I.F.M in mind. In case you’re not familiar with the acronym, W.I.I.F.M stands for “What’s In It For Me?” You must focus on the benefit that the TV show, station and/or its viewers will receive when constructing your message. If you focus on this while weaving in information about your business/organization, your message will be that much more interesting to the show producer.

3. Be relevant! As you’re creating your customized pitches, you’ll increase your chances of a show taking notice if it’s relevant to whatever is currently happening or will be happening in the near future. Relevance also ties into W.I.I.F.M.

4. Remain determined and diligent. Media outlets are inundated with information daily. As such, you will likely have to contact each station several times if you want to increase the odds that someone will contact you. Therefore, it’s a good idea to plan out a series of correspondences that you will send and a schedule you will follow to make this process manageable.

Getting media attention is a challenging task for many business owners, but it’s not impossible. Stay at it and successes–small and large–will come. Good luck. Oh, and by the way…If you have a marketing question you’d like me to answer, let me know. Send an email to: AskTanisha@TheLoftyEntrepreneur.com or ask@madamenoire.com and I just might answer it on my blog!

Tanisha Coffey is a professional writer and marketing consultant based in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia. She provides her services through the strategic marketing consulting, professional copywriting and independent author services firm Scribe, Etc.

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