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Best Practices for Generating Media Coverage

Ted Birkhahn

Earning top-tier media coverage consistently over time is crucial for building strong brand reputation and awareness. However, generating this type of coverage is not an easy feat. It requires a strategic and ongoing approach that involves a deep understanding of the media landscape, and the ability to create and share compelling stories. There are too many tips and techniques to share in one article, so below, we hone in on a few best practice areas that will pave the way to success.

Understand the media landscape

It is essential to understand the media landscape to generate top-tier earned media coverage. It requires a knowledge of the publications and journalists covering relevant beats, and the type of information they seek in expanding their coverage. You should also be aware of the current media trends and changes in the industry. Keeping up with the latest developments will allow you to pitch timely and relevant stories, increasing your chances of securing coverage.

Build relationships with journalists

Spokespeople should view media relations as a relationship-driven process, not a transactional one. Building relationships with key reporters is a worthy investment of your time — it gets you on their radar screen, and lends you consideration as a potential source for future stories. Some journalists receive as many as 100 pitches a week, so having a relationship with them will help you stand out in a crowded field. Understanding reporters’ needs and interests, providing valuable information, and respecting deadlines are necessary in building strong relationships. If you invest in journalists, they will return the favor.

Great stories lead with friction 

When creating a story for the media, focusing on the problem you’re trying to address or solve as a business is essential. In addition, pegging your story to an issue or trend in the current news cycle — also known as newsjacking — will increase your chances of landing coverage in top-tier media outlets.

Offer exclusives

Exclusives give journalists a sense of urgency to cover your story, as they are the only ones with access to it. Offering exclusives can also help you build relationships with journalists, and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

Be responsive

Half the battle is meeting a reporter’s deadline. Companies that streamline the internal approval process and have spokespeople who can move expeditiously to speak with reporters often see increased media coverage compared to their peers.

Be prepared

Whether it is a quick prep before an interview or a full-scale media training, only speak with a reporter after having some level of preparation. Reviewing your key messages and practicing some mock Q&A will put you in the right mindset and position to carry out a successful interview.

For more best practices, download our latest media relations guide below, or contact me at tedb@hotpaperlantern.com.