My friend Mandy Vavrinak shared some great PR tips for getting news media coverage at the recent Social Media Tulsa Conference.
|Mandy Vavrinak shares her PR tips|
at Social Media Tulsa
Of course, getting news media coverage is different in small towns than when competing for big city coverage. In my small town, I’m three hours from the nearest TV stations and statewide newspapers. There’s darn little I can do (or would want to) that would get their attention. And for my hometown paper, I can write my own stories. But I can still use Mandy’s ideas about covering yourself.
Also, lots of small towns are closer to a big metro area and can compete for some “big” media attention. I know that Mandy works with smaller towns around the Tulsa metro area in her economic development work.
Here are her tips:
Build relationships first, before you ever seek coverage. Listen to the media representatives in your area on Twitter and on the news, and get to know what they want. Talk with them, compliment their good stories, and do all those basics of building relationships long before you start sharing pitches. “The most important thing is connect first, pitch later,” Mandy said.
Develop good stories. Know what constitutes news your media will cover. Find the newsworthy angles. This takes practice.
Have a helpful attitude. If you have good information, and you’re not spamming, you are helping the media, not bothering them.
Follow up in a positive way. Ask, “are you planning on covering this?” not “did you get the release?” The first one presumes they got it. If they didn’t, you get a chance to summarize it in one sentence to see if they are interested.
Cover yourself. If you’re finding the media is not interested in your stuff, cover it yourself. Use a service like small-town Wyoming based PitchEngine that allows you to build multimedia releases. PitchEngine works as a repository of your multimedia content and archives. This is different from PRWeb and related services, which are distribution networks. [Note: PRWeb stopped by to let me know they also do multimedia releases. See the comments below.]
Don’t reinvent the multimedia wheel. Use supporting materials that are freely available from others. For example, Mandy was doing a release on the importance of sprinklers in fire safety. She put together a release and included video about sprinklers from an industry source.
What PR tips would you add?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.