1. Become, for all practical purposes, a stalker. If you’re trying to get you or your client noticed by a large television show, do as much research possible on the person you’re trying to contact. Find out who they really are:
- Google their name
- Find any organizations they belong to
- Research the type of shows they produced in the past (IMDB)
- Read the articles they’ve written
- Look for the blogs they write, and the social media they participate in
Collect this information and save it in a file. Find out what makes them tick, and what attracts them to specific stories that might also pair well with your client. Then, when you call them, it will be as if you already know them.
2. Plan your attack. Build up an impressive media kit bundle of quotes from local papers who’ve written about you or your client. Pull out the best (and shortest) quotes and paste them into the bottom of your email pitch. Remember, no one in media likes to be “the first” to report on a story. If someone else out there has already given the thumbs up on a story, however, the media source you’re targeting will be a lot more likely to take you seriously.
3. Make social media work for you. Online, the more you tag, social bookmark, link to your page, and talk about an event, the more likely you are to come up on the top of a google search. If you don’t already have one for yourself or your client, create a social media account for them, and make sure to post something interesting every week. This is your space to talk about yourself or your client, and tell their story. Post pictures, stories, and a “behind the scenes” look at their success. Be sure to tag every picture, and story you post. Include your name, the product, the category, and any other search tips people might look for. (I was thrilled the day that I googled my client’s name and “Oprah” and had the first search result be the one that pointed to my client.”)
And of course, none of the above will work as well as they could if you don’t do the following, which are my fundamental PR Tips:
4. Respect the journalist’s time and be professional. If you’re cold calling a large “old media” organization, be sure you have the right contact information, and the right person. Once you’re on the phone with the reporter, tell them you have a story about (XYZ) and would like to know if they have a minute to hear about it. (If you call earlier in the day, they’re more likely to have time). If they decline, ask when a good time would be for you to call back, and call them back then.
5. Have a good followup email. Don’t call a reporter, pitch them a story, and then have nothing else to send. Spell out your story ahead of time, in a nice saved email draft. Include the who, what, when, where, and most importantly, “why should their readers/viewers care.” Include your contact information, along with one to two links they can follow up with.
6. Make a professional media kit. Create a one to three page media kit (soft copy) to email reporters, as a PDF file. Include a couple professional pictures, logos, and anything else that would give the reporter more information. This step requires additional layout skills, so if you’re not familiar with the software and skills to create a professional looking media kit, this step may need to be outsourced. The purpose of the media kit is to give the reporter “all they need to know” about you or your client to create a compelling, in-depth story for their readers/viewers.
Jennifer L. Jacobson is the author of author of 42 Rules of Social Media for Business and the founder of Jacobson Communication, a Northern California consulting company that offers public relations, marketing, branding, and social media solutions to organizations working to impact positive social change. She has spent her working life helping organizations and individuals generate positive public awareness. She has done work for many companies including Impact Marketing Group, Furl.net, MerchantCircle, Linda Hannawalt Designs, and PNN.com. Jennifer holds a Masters Degree in Broadcast Communication Arts from San Francisco State University, was recently Vice President of Marketing at a social media company and has ghostwritten for several blogs and social networks.