In an interview with Disrupt Magazine, LifeFlip Media founder Eric Mitchell shared seven tips on how to better approach your brand’s media exposure, by avoiding several common pitfalls that individuals and PR agencies make.
#1 – If You Haven’t Done Any Press, Start Locally
Everyone wants press coverage these days. What I don’t understand is why the only “possible” outlets people want are Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and/or Business Insider.
Do you want to know how media works? It begins with grassroots and your community. If you are new to the media arena, great. Let’s avoid bad habits from the beginning.
Pitching to your local press is the best first step if you’re looking to get into media. The reason being is that these networks want to see how you are directly impacting your local community. From there, you are able to continue expanding your presence and brand, eventually capturing the attention of national and international networks like Ticker News, Cheddar, Bloomberg, NBC LX, BBC World News, Good Morning America, and countless others.
For those companies looking for press coverage, ask yourselves why and why the average viewer would care?
Regardless of the national/international network you are pitching to, they are going to want to see your previous media exposure, beginning with your business’ main location and community.
#2 – All Press is Good Press
Regardless of how small or large your business is, or how small or large the media outlet is, any media coverage is good media coverage.
In today’s age of misinformation, it’s increasingly difficult to decipher “fake news” from legitimate and impacting headlines. Needless to say, when you are doing interviews, make sure that you are communicating as accurately as possible, keeping brevity in mind.
Pay mind to the individuals you are interviewing with, confirming with them on what they are actually using from your conversation. This is another reason that dipping your feet into the live television arena is more valuable, as you have more control over what you say and how it’s used on-air, than you would with traditional online media outlets.
#3 – Maximize On Existing Relationships
If you were to go to your LinkedIn and Facebook, could you identify each and every person you’re connected with?
I’ll add another layer to that – do you remember why you connected with them in the first place? Have you ever interacted with that individual? If you haven’t, why not? If you have, what came from it?
Add with a purpose. Write with a purpose. Connect with a purpose.
The biggest mistake we see people making is that they treat their professional online networks as a playground for personal expression and opinions. Networks like LinkedIn and Twitter have a much bigger purpose, at least for professionals, then what they appear to be.
I encourage you to take 1-2 hours each weekend and go down your LinkedIn and Twitter connections – one by one, and ask yourself why you are connected with that person. If you cannot answer that question, remove them and move on – or reach out and find out.
#4 – Use Twitter to Connect with Journalists and Build Rapport
Twitter and LinkedIn are a goldmine when it comes to professional networking. Unfortunately, Twitter has become a cesspool for online trolling, harassment, and poor digital hygiene.
However, when it comes to the media, carefully considering who you choose to follow, the tweets you choose to like and/or engage with, all reflects who you are as an individual and brand.
Twitter is a powerful tool when it comes to pitching journalists. Many of them have their direct contact information (Signal, WhatsApp, Proton Mail) in their bio, so you are able to directly reach out and tweet at them when you do contact them.
However, make sure that you look to build a long-term relationship with these journalists. Before blindly pitching them, learn about them. Read through their Twitter feed and figure out what makes them tick.
For example, who do they follow? When they do tweet, what are they tweeting out? When they are re-tweeting, what are they re-tweeting?
It’s smart to study those journalists before blindly reaching out, as having an understanding as to who they are and what gauges their interest, will only position you better when you do decide to reach out to them.
Write with a purpose.
#5 – Radio is Judge; Don’t Forget to Pitch Radio Segments
Just because we have satellite radio, doesn’t mean you ignore the hundreds of thousands of programming out there.
Part of growing your brand’s media exposure is tailoring to those who love to listen to the radio and podcasts. Radio segments are crucial when we are talking about law, politics, and finance.
Whether it’s Bloomberg Radio or Wake Up With Marci, these radio segments all provide value, because most have some sort of network syndication/affiliation where they are distributed to several other media channels, maximizing your brand’s exposure.
#6 – The Shorter and More Concise the Pitch, the Better
Another major issue when it comes to pitching journalists, is that most public relations agencies don’t understand how to craft a pitch itself, despite what they tell themselves. Consequently, we see either very long (and often fragmented) pitches, or those that just lack in sufficient information to accurately communicate what the editor and/or writer should be looking for.
Beginning with the editor or writer you are pitching, please research their swimlane and the last few pieces they’ve written on. In composing your email, the subject line should arguably be the headline from one of their previous articles – so, yes, they should recognize it.
Next, make sure you are very clear upfront what piece that editor/writer put together, that you are using as a basis for your upcoming pitch. This will allow for you to make that nexus and show why this pitch is a great follow-up, or addresses gaps missing from the previous piece.
Industry-respected distribution services like Cision and PR Newswire are great, but can also work against what you’re trying to accomplish. Despite the absurd pricing just to be able to mass distribute a press release, you can accomplish so much more by just understanding how to craft 800-1,000 words and strategically target editors, staff writers, contributors, and other networks based on the subject matter you are pitching.
We strongly advise our clients to avoid using these services if they can, because unless you are a household name or have the cash flow to justify it, there is very little ROI coming back from those press releases.
And for the love of god, please stop advertising that your brand “was featured in Yahoo Finance” – it doesn’t take a genius to see at the top of the article that it was syndicated through one of these press release distribution services and not an actual editorial article. This is misleading and will work against you – no question.
#7 – Be the Expert!
One of the biggest mistakes individuals, including PR agencies make when pitching media is they forget why they are pitching. Remember, it is not about your client or the brand – but instead, what the audience or community can learn from it.
For this reason, having your clients weigh in on industry pressing issues as a subject matter expert will help increase exposure and reception for your client.
So, stop watching your competition in the media, and start being in the media.
For more information on LifeFlip Media, please click here.