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Media Training: Are you newsworthy?

  February 14, 2022

You're launching a new product or service, and you happily share the news with friends and family.  These people already know all about you and your company, and frankly they are an easy audience.

Now you need to share your news with the public, the people who must be convinced to buy what you're selling.  You need to reach your target audience with clear, concise messaging.  I'm talking about "earned media" and not an ad buy.  You could attract a lot of potential customers/clients with an appearance on a local TV newscast or a write-up on a news outlet's website.  But pitching to traditional media can be tricky.

Sometimes it can be hard to understand why the media isn't interested in your news. It could just be a very busy news day, or the media outlet has recently done a story on a similar topic.  Try again, when you have another story with unique messaging.  You'd be amazed at what producers or editors consider as news on a slow day, or if there's something in the news they can "hook" your story to.  In small and medium-sized media markets, the opening of a new store could become a TV news story.  

Perhaps your products or services are better explained on social media.  Here you are your own producer.  You control your messaging.  The public will love you or hate you, but it's all you.  With earned media (broadcast or print interviews) a reporter, anchor, producer or writer is at the wheel.  They may take the story in a direction you are not prepared for.  That's why it is so important to have your messaging down pat and learn to steer media interviews back your way. 

Some recommendations on messaging:

  • Have at least three simple talking points.
  • Don't try to jam in every detail. It's better for your audience to come away with one lasting thought about your services than be confused by too many details. 
  • Let your website fill in details.
  • Make sure you offer value to the audience.  Don't try to make every interview a hard sell. Examples:
     
    • You're launching a new makeup line.  You could include three of your top tips for applying makeup like a pro.  It's easy to work in your brand while giving useful information.
    • You own a dog grooming shop. Do you have tips on how to make sure dogs are relaxed during  grooming?  Share these with nervous pet parents in the audience.  They may just end up trusting you with their loved one.     
  • Realize that not everything your company or organization does is actually newsworthy.  Your news has to pass the "who cares?" test.  If a reader, viewer, listener or follower spends valuable time on your messaging, will it impact his life in some way?  Are you serving his needs, wants or even his curiosity?

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