July 22, 2010 Leave a comment
It’s difficult to launch an effective media campaign if you don’t study the media. Stories that are in the news and topics that are being covered can offer you a great launching pad for your PR campaign. By tying your story into an issue or topic that’s already in the news, you’re pitching a story that you know the media is already interested and are making a pitch that you know is timely and relevant. Obviously not every story is going to lend itself to your business or your expertise, but if you take the time to truly study the news and broaden the way you define yourself, you might be surprised how many stories there are out there that actually fit.
For example, let’s say you own a nursery. You know plants and flowers. Maybe there is a gala at the White House. You can pitch a story on the floral arrangements that would work the best, or why the choices that were made were the right ones or (better yet) the wrong ones. Or perhaps you can address the bee crisis. Bees are endangered and that fact has been in the news. Are there flowers we could plant or things we could do that would help? Those are two stories that you could address that are already in the news. You’re pitching yourself as an expert with specific expertise, not simply as a business owner who wants to promote your company.
When I wrote my PR books, The Alchemy of Success and Spin to Win, I pitched stories on how my books could help business owners learn the nuts and bolts of launching an effective media campaign, but those weren’t the media pitches that landed me in the national media. I knew that if I wanted to garner coverage in the major media, my pitches had to be sexier, more relevant and come with a sense of urgency. The best pitches have a call to action. So, I studied the media for stories of celebrities, politicians and major businesses that were going through some kind of media crisis and presented myself as a public relations and damage control expert who could address how these media train wrecks could best be dealt with. I covered the gamut discussing such topics as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Mel Gibson, Microsoft, and the presidential candidates. I also discussed how various fields such as plastic surgery and the banking industry needed to shift the way they were positioned in the media. This approach gave me a wide range of topics to address. I had to move quickly and contact the media when a particular story was in the news. But the basic pitch remained the same, only the specifics changed. This approach landed me coverage in a wide range of media outlets including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, the BBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and many other media outlets.
This approach can be a bit more time intensive, but the upside is – it works. It truly is the closest thing there is to a public relations silver bullet.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010