For some brands, getting positive press is a unicorn – a mythical beast highly sought after but never actually acquired.
However positive press – more commonly referred to as earned media – is something which requires finesse… and the right PR firm.
It also requires some basic knowledge about how the media industry works, so that their buttons can be pressed with results delivered like they were picked out of a vending machine.
Here are 3 Proven Methods for acquiring earned media:
Reach Out To Journalists
This requires doing more than reaching out to a tip-line. While reporters ARE interested in compelling stories, if they don’t have a point of contact, an anonymous tip can quickly turn into a waste of time. That’s why services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) exist – connecting journalists with sources.
Social media is also an excellent tool to use. Journalists monitor Twitter for hashtags such as #journorequest or #prrequest. Tagging journalists directly on Twitter while using these hashtags can be a great way to get a story written. Just make sure it’s the story you WANT written.
Provide USEFUL or INTERESTING Information
There is no substitute for reality. While fluff will just fade into the background online, specific, controversial, and new information spreads like wildfire. Even more importantly though is how difficult it can be for members of the Press to source information, especially online. While some company data is of course proprietary, making interesting trends or useful information easily available to the press means that you will likely be cited as a source, or even interviewed for a story.
As cynical as people can be about the media, it’s important to remember that journalists are often just regular people who need facts to do their job effectively. Providing verifiable facts in a strategic way makes a company a resource for the media, a resource they will be happy to engage and MUST give credit to.
DO something USEFUL or INTERESTING
A critical factor for the publication of a press release is newsworthiness. Is the information useful or interesting? If the answer is no, nobody will care to read it. Of course, you can spin something and make it appear interesting… but at the end of the day, the best way to make something appear newsworthy is for it to actually BE newsworthy.
This can be as simple as holding a fundraiser for a charity, or supporting a cause. It can be handing out a reward, or even doing something Avant Garde like providing free day-care vouchers for employees. Of course, if kindness seems blase, big parties, hosting events, and innovation are also great examples of something a company can DO to make headlines.
Making sure the headlines are positive is the trickiest aspect when doing something big for media attention. The key to ensuring that the attention stays positive is to focus on the story. Whether it be to raise employee morale, raise awareness, or raise funds to solve a problem, the key when doing something is to be clear about WHY you are doing it.