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Get (the Right Kind of) Attention from Journalists

Last month, Scott Bekker, Redmond Channel Partner's editor in chief, was invited to share his expert advice on media relations with the D.C. chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP). The Internet may have made it easier to publish a press release, but harder to stand out from the crowd. Bekker's audience --which included MSPs, Dynamics partners, learning and break/fix partners -- learned valuable lessons to help them get noticed.

Why Don't Journalists Respond to Your Press Release?
Bekker delivered an eye-opening introduction explaining why it's so difficult to get attention from the press for the stories that you think would appeal to a broad audience. Two factors are primarily to blame, according to Bekker. "One, people want to read bad news," he said. "Two, time pressure on editors is becoming more intense as they take on more responsibility for writing and curating online content."

Since bad news is probably not the way you want to attract the media's attention, the second issue is where the opportunity lies.

What Can You Do To Get Noticed?
Treat media relations the same as you do customer marketing, Bekker advised. As we've said previously in this blog, building relationships is a continuous process and applies to customers and journalists. Consistently touching your target audience to educate them on the benefits you can deliver is the key to success with marketing and with media relations.

Journalists, just like customers, may not respond to your e-mail the first time or even the tenth time. But when the time comes that they need what you have to offer, they will remember you.

And just as you do with prospective customers, identify the journalists you think would be helpful to your business and concentrate on them.  Sending mass-distributed press releases to publications that don't serve your markets is a waste of time and energy. Focus your PR efforts on the industries you serve and the publications that your customers read.

Help Journalists Build Content
Journalists are in the business of delivering meaningful content to their target audience -- they are always looking for good material. Build your relationship with journalists by helping them identify interesting stories and write great content. You efforts will be appreciated and likely rewarded.

Bekker had several specific suggestions for ways to connect with your target journalists:

  • Comment on blogs or articles using your full name and company name.
  • Follow on Twitter, reply and re-Tweet entries.
  • When you send a news release, include a blog post the journalist can use.

Keep in mind that your focus should be on helping the journalist, not just helping yourself. Send an e-mail asking what stories are coming up. Respond with suggestions about how you could contribute to the story.

It all comes down to journalists being people, working with limited resources, who can use all the help they can get. As you build your relationship with the journalist, you'll be rewarded with exposure.

How has PR helped your business? Add a comment below, or e-mail me and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 03, 2012 at 11:57 AM


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