What the Media Wants from You
Insisting that working with the media is all about relationships, Adam Brooks recently shared with Morning Moxie some important insights about what your company and PR agencies need to know if they want a successful experience with the media. Adam is the managing editor of the Journal Record, a business and political newspaper in Oklahoma City. He also regularly reports for the Business Intelligence Report on KGOU.
“It’s about relationships, and it can’t be you guys call us and expect us to jump.”
That’s not how it works. But Adam was generous enough to share how it does work, and for that many small businesses will find themselves in lights, so to speak.
Here are 5 takeaways we learned from Adam.
You need to connect your business’ story with the greater industry. Be able to share how your story connects with the audience of a particular publication. And demonstrate relevancy right away — don’t make an editor hunt for the reason your story should appear in their publication (odds are, they won’t go hunting).
You Aren’t the Boss
We don’t work for you, said Adam. He made it clear that the media is not your PR agency. They aren’t going to run all of the quotes you wanted. They probably won’t add the appropriate © ® ™ that your brand guide says you have to have. They may not capitalize to suit your brand style. And you don’t get to edit a story that’s been written about you / your company.
You might think you’re doing an editor a favor by sharing your pitch, but recognize that editors receive upwards of a hundred emails a day from local, regional, and national sources that may or may not be relevant. (And you thought your inbox was rough!) Know their deadlines. Know their audience. Have a fully fleshed pitch specific to their publication and be ready to follow-up.
Tell a Bigger Story.
They’re looking for novelistic structure. Does your story have strong protagonist/antagonist conflict? Can you tie it to a larger picture, like your industry as a whole as opposed to only your company? Is it something you’ve actually done — be it accomplishment or failure — as opposed to something you’re going to do? How new, different, or unique is the hook?
Be Ready to Deliver.
Did you commit your CEO to being available for a comment today when the paper is up against a hard deadline? You better be able to deliver on that. If you’re saying it because it’s what the editor wants to hear, and the CEO is unavailable until next week, you just lost your big chance. Adam and his colleagues want you to deliver on what you say you will. If you pitch, be ready for a yes response. Have photos available, quotable sources on standby, and all of your facts straight.
Bonus: Buy an Ad.
If you want to guarantee exposure, buy an ad in the paper. Some are pay-to-play; Adam made it clear that’s not how his paper works. It can be a great way to open the doors to a relationship with the publication, introduce your brand to the readership, and learn what the best fit is to finally get your name in ink. Your upcoming event may not be newsworthy, but that doesn’t mean people don’t need to know about it.
What Adam’s Reading
The Unpersuadables by Will Storr. It’s about why people believe things that are wrong, how hard it is to challenge our own beliefs, etc. Really good for focusing on one’s own thinking. Not really about journalism, but beneficial for anyone. — Adam Brooks