Recently somebody shared a media list that they had found on the Internet. They thought this media list was a “goldmine” and while I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, the media list could turn into a landmine if not used properly.
Here are my thoughts about what you need to be aware of when using media lists.
1. Many media prefer to be contacted by email, not telephone. How do you know? Do your research; follow them on Twitter, etc. Then after you send an email, wait a week or two, and then send again. Sometimes it’s appropriate to call them as well. But it’s worth trying to find out first.
2. Before you send an email, you need to make sure you’re sending it to the right person for what you are sending and that you have the correct email address. If you send to the wrong person, they will just press delete. Also editors, reporters, producers, change all the time, so best do your homework before you press send.
3. NEVER send a mass email to the media, that’s another delete. Instead send a personal email to whoever would be the best contact. Make sure you know what they’ve written about, produced etc. It doesn’t help to mention it and say “I saw that you did a story on this; I thought that you might be interested in this as well.”
4. Media get as much as 500 emails a day. The only way to capture their attention is the headline. If your headline is interesting, they may open your email.
5. On that note, make sure your email is short. Answer the who, what, when, where, and why. Secret: Media love bullet points.
6. Media begets other media. It’s okay to mention that you’ve been interviewed by other outlets. (Maybe include it in your signature line or your boilerplate.)
7. Secret: You can find the contact info of most any media pro on the website of their outlet. Most have a “Submit news” email address. This is the best way to send news tips unless you have a relationship with a contact because there is a person whose job it is to monitor these email addresses all day and disperse the interesting stories to the reporters.
8. Free publicity emails like HARO are great. The key to getting picked is to email them fast! They too get inundated with hundreds of emails. It is true, the early bird gets the worm, and the mention.
9. Another way to get publicity is to blog regularly, write articles and get them published everywhere. Don’t go to the media, make them go to you. Establish yourself as an expert in your field though your writing.
10. Once the media contacts you, contact them back RIGHT AWAY!! Bend over backwards to accommodate them and you may become one of their regular sources.
11. Keep in mind that you do not have any control over what they write or report. The fact is that sometimes you’re going to get disappointed. The details will get cut out, or the story won’t mention your company name or book or they may interview you for an hour, use what you gave them for their story and not credit you at all. That’s the way it is. They are not advertising for you. They are reporting news.
12. Lastly, once your story appears, email the reporter and thank them for a great story.
I hope these tips help you. Publicity is something that anyone can do for themselves with a little knowledge. The reason that people hire publicists is because generally they have the knowledge, contacts, resources and processes to get the job done. However, having a publicist doesn’t guarantee that you will get coverage. Even though I have relationships with the media, they don’t jump on every story that I send them. My relationship gets my foot in the door and that can make a difference.
All the best with your publicity campaigns. I hope you will share here when you get coverage. Also, feel free to share on my Facebook page.