3 Essential Steps to Media Coverage

Image of keyboard with news buttonGetting media coverage for your story is hard work. It takes initial and continued effort to build your relationship with reporters and media outlets.

Below we provide you with 3 essential steps to telling your brand story to media. From laying the ground work to pitching your story and following-up, we outline best practices along with some helpful links to our blog.

Step 1: Lay the groundwork

Step 2: Pitch your story

Step 3: Leverage media coverage


About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Tell your story with photos for better media pick-up

Compelling photography can help tell your story and enhance your key messages. The more interesting your photo that accompanies your news release, the greater your chances of media pick-up.

CNW Group offers some great tips in a video entitled ‘Photos the Media Will Notice’ with some great examples of the following:

  • Be creative. A shot of the shop floor is more interesting than the “grip and grin.”
  • Be bright. Lighting can make the difference between a spectacular photo and a terrible one.
  • Use tight, detailed shots. They add flavour to the story, creating intimacy with the viewer.
  • Capture actions and reactions. Don’t stage your photos!
  • Include a caption. Give your photo context.
  •  Let a professional do it.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CHtk3fGYH0]

Do you have an eye for effective PR photos?

Vote for the winner of CNW’s 2013 Photo of the Year Contest!

After you vote, you’ll see if your number one choice is garnishing the most attention.  How did you do?


Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

5 ways to issue your news

image of airplane folded newspaper Issuing regular, professionally written news releases will open doors to the media and can have positive outcome on your business. But before putting pen to paper, think about how you want to issue your news. 

News releases are often lumped together as one single PR tool, however, there are different types of news releases with subtle differences in how they convey your message to the media.

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the truth about the newsroom – straight-up!

[tweetmeme source=”storylinePR” only_single=false]WARNING: What follows is a harsh reality that may offend some readers.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Ask reporters what they want from pitch to coverage – their top-ten list might look something like this:

  1. Do your homework. Know exactly what I do and do not cover. Don’t waste my time and I won’t waste yours.
  2. When you pitch, show me you have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and compose a note meant to appeal to me.
  3. Please be accessible once you pitch your story. Your marketing manager is not a suitable substitute.
  4. Return my phone call – even if you’re just calling to tell me you don’t know the answers to my questions! I work to a deadline.
  5. Make it easy for me to cover your story – send me multimedia that will add to your news.
  6. “Speak my language.” Don’t talk in jargon or industry-speak. I know you’re smart – that’s why I’m interviewing you. If I don’t understand you, then I can’t explain it to my readers, (listeners / viewers)
  7. Give me a quote to punch up my story. And remember, nothing is off the record – so please don’t tell me what I can and cannot use.
  8. It’s OK to follow up – but please don’t call to ask me if I received the press release you just sent. I have them by the hundreds in my inbox… and yours was which one exactly? When you do follow up, pitch your idea in 30 seconds or less and add some value to the contents of the release. Oh, and please don’t call me when I’m filing my stories. One word… “Deadline”
  9. I get that you want coverage, otherwise you wouldn’t be contacting me, but don’t send your news release to three other reporters I work with too! What’s worse is if I find out you pitched the same story to every media outlet in the city – I’ll kill the story.
  10. Don’t ask me why I’m not running with your story. I’m answerable only to my editor. It’s likely because it lacked real substance and news value. I report news. Period.

What reporters really want is usually pretty simple. They want their calls returned, a quote for their story and they want to do their job and go home.   Read more…

what’s your story? here’s mine.

[tweetmeme source=”storylinePR” only_single=false]I’ve been getting a lot of resistance from fellow PR pros on introducing a new concept. My clients think it’s a great idea and I am still of the mind that it would be a great option for small and medium-sized businesses, (who are my target market), to enter the PR game. The concept is a pay for placement.  In addition to fee structures that I currently offer… retainer and by project, I am introducing a “pay for play” pricing model as an option. Essentially this will include a base fee, (to cover the up-front costs of campaign development), plus a fee associated with the type of media attained.

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does your release have “news value”?

As I have mentioned on several occasions, building credibility with the media is as important as creating it for your company, and when it comes to public relations one rarely exists without the other. Working with the media should be a planned, well supported and carefully executed effort.

An experienced journalist can easily identify if your release is intended to sell the reader. While the end result may be to increase product awareness and sell your product or service, your release cannot sound like a television or radio commercial.  Distributing a news release that has the look and feel of a “sales pitch” can do more harm than good – and on a permanent basis. Future releases will tend to be ignored – even if it is written in the proper context and is a newsworthy release.

Are you looking at this from a journalist’s perspective?

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8 steps to developing your story

When developing your communications strategy, you should itemize your requirements for media coverage. This should be more than just a statement within your plan… “to create media awareness”. The media outline organizes the process for selecting the appropriate message to accompany the communication strategy.

You must first start with media outline as a base for potential story ideas. The media outline consists of eight steps…

  1. Clarify the communications outcome
  2. Identify the target audience
  3. Identify the audience needs/ concerns/ interests
  4. Choose a message
  5. Choose the communication channel
  6. Select a spokesperson (if not yourself)
  7. Package the message to raise audience needs/ concerns/ interests
  8. Communicate the message

The media outline is an important step in the communications strategy.  It is the framework of motivational principals and should be a base for any broadcast to the media. Once the media outline is determined, it is time to turn to the development of the message with an effective news release to garnish media attention.