Let’s face it, media relations isn’t always a walk in the park. It can be a challenge to get your news out there and in front of the right audience. However, with thoughtful research, a compelling pitch and a targeted media list, you’ll have all the ingredients necessary to get the coverage you want and form the strategic media relationships you need.
Why is it important to create these relationships? The media receive hundreds of pitches every day on a plethora of topics. When you find a reporter you believe should cover your client, it’s important to get your name in front of them. To grab the attention of your industry and media alike, focus on getting mentioned in stories about competitors or trending industry topics. The goal is to position your client—or yourself—as an industry leader. And the way to get your news out there is to have a few go-to contacts that recognize the value in what you have to say.
In the B2B tech industry, news moves quickly. Often it’s tough to stay in front of the media, but you can do it. Here are a few ways you can stay in front of the media, instead of always playing catch up.
Respond to media coverage about the competition
The first step is to identify your top competitors and their roles in the industry. Once you’ve zeroed in on the key players, you will want to track any and all moves they make in the press. Following their news regularly can provide insights into when bigger announcements might unfold, before they do.
For example, if you know a direct competitor wants to be acquired, and there are rumors of this happening soon, closely track the news. That way, it won’t be a surprise when it is officially announced. Be ready to act when bigger news stories like these hit, especially if they impact your target industry. Create a pitch, narrow your media list to a targeted few and have an SME lined up for interview requests. Once the news breaks, let the pitching begin.
This is a high-visibility way for your client to express their opinion on a timely industry topic— even when it isn’t their news.
Express opinions on industry trends
Another way to stay in front of the media is to follow topics trending in your industry. Keep a running list of media outlets and reporters covering these hot trends. For example, in the tech industry, topics like machine learning, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data and predictive analytics are of particular interest. Chiming in on any of these or other trends is a great opportunity to express your client’s expert opinions on important conversations. This elevates your client to an industry thought leader in the eyes of the media.
While this type of pitching must be timely, it can have a much longer shelf life than breaking news announcements, which require constant, aggressive pitching.
Create “media buddies”
Anyone can create a media list packed full of reporters and editors who cover relevant topics. But do you have a targeted list of “media buddies”?
Cold pitching isn’t the most productive use of time and resources. It’s crucial to know who your audience is and who is most likely to cover your news. Once you identify a handful of reporters as “worthy” media buddies, study what they cover. Study how they respond to certain pitches. Become their friend. And pitch them news every time your client makes announcements.
The more you communicate with your media buddies, the more you’ll learn about them. You may even find they aren’t as relevant as you first thought. That’s okay—it could be a chance to turn “no” into a way of getting feedback on what they’re really interested in covering.
When your client has an announcement, pre-pitch your media buddies to give them a heads up on developing news. This builds trust, keeps you at the forefront of their mind and could eventually guarantee your client coverage—just because of the relationship you’ve formed.
Contribute thought leadership articles
Sometimes your client doesn’t have a ton of news, and that’s not always a bad thing. Even when news is slow, though, it’s still important to stay in front of the media.
Contributing thought leadership articles is a great way to expand your reach and connect with reporters who accept contributed or bylined content. This helps the market see you or your client as an industry leader. Instead of just promoting yourself, you’re contributing valuable insights into the market you’re in.
Remember that media relations isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You should constantly nurture your relationship with the media, even when news periods are slow. Doing this allows you to form important relationships so vital to establishing a powerhouse media presence—and to provide the most value to your client.