EVERY business seems to want to get in the news. They want media to pay attention to their business and to publish stories about their product or services. They see other businesses or their competitors in the news and they also want a share of that media coverage.
Remember that to earn that media attention and to get the PR coverage, businesses must develop a strategy on how to craft a message that is newsworthy and informative. This is the key to successful PR, making it far more cost effective than advertising. Having your company’s name featured in the news provides great credibility and may also bring your business to the attention of potential clients, in a positive way at no extra cost.
Media is in the business of selling news to their readers. They want to stimulate, entertain and interest readers and are always looking out for stories that are newsworthy and new sources that can provide attention-grabbing and exciting news. If you want to grab the media’s attention you must have a compelling story to share.
Last year, Canadian Blake Dinkin made headlines around the world with his Black Ivory Coffee because of its unique production process. The Arabica beans are fed to Thai elephants and plucked by mahouts a day later from their dung, before they are washed and roasted. Dinkin explained that the natural fermentation process in the elephant creates the unique and distinct coffee flavor. Since approximately 10,000 beans are picked to produce 1kg of coffee, Black Ivory is the world’s priciest cup of coffee.
The media also has a checklist that determines if the story is newsworthy or not. Timing is very important. If you are able to link your product or service to a current trend or tie it to the topic of current news, then you are likely to get the media’s attention. If you want to launch a product or service to coincide with a holiday or celebration, then find out the lead time when the publication goes for print and send your release in advance.
Your product or service must also be of some significance. For instance, has it changed people’s lives in anyway? Does it affect a large number of people? Does it reflect a human interest? Is it a feel-good story? Is there an emotional attachment to that product or service?
Last month, the Associated Press featured an article about a teacher in Pennsylvania who replaced students’ chairs with yoga balls. According to the teacher, sitting on these balls kept the kids more alert and comfortable in class. A professor of movement science added that there has been research linking physical activity with better learning. Once confined mostly to gyms and fitness centers, these yoga balls, priced at US$5 (B30) must have enjoyed a windfall after the article was shared with other schools and adults.
Developing various story angles of your business can also help in getting media coverage in various publications. To get a wide media coverage you have to cast your net wide. If you have a publication you want to be featured in, browse through the various sections and see how you can develop your product or service specific to that section.
Create multiple press releases that feature various angles to increase your chance of being featured in several publications. A leading US conglomerate recently launched a new version of one of their multigrain snacks in Thailand. With a competitive snack market, the product was targeted at health conscious consumers who loved to snack, but still wanted to maintain their health and appearance. In addition to the official press release announcing the product launch, several PR angles were featured in various press releases to promote the product. These included a lifestyle angle, which touched on the benefits of selecting healthy snacks, especially those that are baked and include fiber. Since the product was represented by a celebrity ambassador, who is also a dancer, several entertainment angles were also incorporated. Some of these included sharing the celebrity’s tips on keeping fit through exercise and making smart and healthy snack choices; a popular duo band who wrote lyrics to a song that was especially composed for the product launch; a music video featuring the song, artists and the celebrity; and a dance contest featuring the product and the celebrity.
The examples above provide you with the opportunity to promote your business and to maximize media coverage. If you provide a story that is targeted to the readers of the various publications, is timely and has some significance, you have a better chance of coverage.