Your brand is on the up, now how do you tell your story to reach a wider audience?
A great way of generating awareness as part of your brand communications is through media engagement. Media outlets and the talented journalists who write for them can tell your brand story in a way that builds credibility and trust.
Building relationships with key media who have an interest in your sector is a great place to start, while another is taking a proactive approach to identify opportunities you can pitch to media.
Here are some tips on how to get started:
1. Get your brand messaging down
If working with a client, set up a workshop with them to talk through the brand story and define the right brand messages – this is a great way to identify interesting topics and newsworthy angles for media use.
2. Understand the media landscape
Get to know the media landscape and the publications that are relevant to you and your target audience. Subscribe to news outlets, download relevant media apps and podcasts and get listening, reading and watching.
Look out for breaking news and trends that are relevant to your brand – are there opportunities for you to engage with media, e.g. provide a comment that adds to the story while also positioning your brand as a thought leader.
Be sure to follow and engage with media correspondents on social channels.
If working with clients, review media monitoring alerts, competitor activity, set up newsfeeds on specific topics relevant to brand business, introduce yourself to media and offer to contribute to any stories they are working on.
3. Sketch out a content plan
Once you’ve done your research and scoped out your media targets, it’s time to consider generating an annual calendar of relevant topics. This will help to plan out how your story and brand news can be shared.
Certain times of the year will be crucial for your brand – if you’re selling ice cream or air conditioners, summer is the time to promote yourself. If you’re selling woolly hats or Advent calendars, winter is your time to shine!
Research calendar dates that could serve as a hook for your brand, such as Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, awareness days, key sports events, new regulations, government updates or industry events, but also niche milestones like Earth Hour Day or April Fools’ Day. Are there any clever ways you can link to these dates or even create a new one?
4. Put a face to your brand
Now you have your calendar and media outlets defined, you must decide who is your expert, your spokesperson, the face of the brand? If the best person for the job isn’t comfortable in front of a microphone, consider getting some media training.
Next, think about how to position or package your key brand messages in a way that makes them useful and enticing for media, such as an industry comment that feeds directly into an ongoing news story or trend. This type of ‘news jacking’ can be a really clever way to weave your brand into a conversation.
Developing a press release on a new product or service announcement is another way to generate column inches.
5. Be alert to media opportunities
Be adaptable and alive to the 24/7 news cycle by regularly updating your brand messaging to reflect what’s happening in your sector of business.
If you are working in an agency on behalf of a brand, agree with your client on the communication channel(s) to use when seeking a fast response (e.g. client reaction to a trending news item) that can be pitched to media.
PR/media is a two-way street
Media correspondents work hard to deliver news and content on a daily basis, so preparation is key.
Once your outreach process is set up, get monitoring and reach out to the right media – remember, they are looking for news angles so be proactive, efficient and helpful in order to secure opportunities for coverage.
Equally, be respectful if media pass on your story. There’s always tomorrow, so even if today’s story is not the right fit, you’ve shown that you can be a go-to source for industry knowledge. Remember too that opportunities can crop up when you least expect them, once you’ve made that initial connection.
If you’d like to know more about generating media opportunities to build your brand, contact us today for a free consultation.
About the author
Dawn Burke is an Associate Director with Cullen Communications, specialising in B2B, consumer, mobility, technology, travel, environment, and helping SMEs to grow their brand.