In this episode we welcome back Brian DeLeonardo, Carroll County States Attorney who dispenses some great wisdom on the advantages of free media over paid media.
What do we mean by media? Anything that is a public platform to use to help you deliver your message to the general public. Specifically we are looking at newspapers, podcasts, blogs, radio, etc.
Specifically we get into earned media, where you package an informative story that is newsworthy and can easily spread via tv, newspapers, radio, etc. Brian shares his story of a story about Domestic Violence Awareness Month. He took that event and partnered with an alarm company to help donate their services that would help domestic violence victims. After the event he was able to get a testimony from one of the people who benefited from the service at a domestic violence shelter.
Things to keep in mind when seeking earned media...
Ask yourself, why should the public care? This isn't about you you you, but about the audience and needs to be good enough to impress the press.
There is a benefit to finding a group or non-profit that you support as it gives you credibility making you look more like a celebrity verses a paid ad that can easily get overlooked.
Your story could be picked up from various social media outlets as well as the associated press. Brian's story was picked up by several newspapers and a reporter came out to do the story which gained even more traction as the story was shared on Facebook. After linking up to the social media shares, it makes for the beginnings of something to go viral.
Don't forget about podcasts and bloggers - many are followed by a lot of people and if you can reach out to bloggers and podcasters in your medium with your press release it can get you some extra reach.
If you don't have much going on that is newsworthy, follow the news in your community, city, and/or county whether it is a community Facebook page or following reporters on social media in your area as opportunities can arise to jump on the bandwagon of a breaking story. For example, entering a community contest that benefits store fronts and you happen to have a store front shop. The press usually comes out to said events and takes photos of many of the places that participate where even Muse Michelle was lucky enough to have a photo of her store front and address printed in the newspaper alongside the photo. Sharing the photo on social media outlets and even commenting on the reporter's/newspaper's feed is also a great way to introduce yourself to their followers and get the ball rolling for additional links, shares, and other earned media links or possible future articles.
What are some effective press release facts to know to get a piece of earned media?
Have a good unedited photo to include in the article, and attach / submit separately as well (or however the particular press request submissions).
Good and current contact information with at least one URL, media contact name (many reporters work on deadlines and one go to name means the difference between getting an article printed or missing the deadline), and email address.
The bulk of the story needs to be short and to the point no more than 1 page, 2-3 paragraphs. If they have questions or want more info they will call you! Remember reporters and editors are hit up for stories what seems like a thousand times a day, short and sweet helps cut through clutter.
Have a great press release title and make sure you follow the correct press release format. An article may not get printed because of a simple incorrect press release format.
You may want to call the reporter/editor first before sending an email with your press release to make sure it goes to the right person.
Don't wait for people to come to you, go to them and often!
Last bit of advice to get noticed... If you find incorrect information in an article bring it up to the editor and offer the correct info instead as well as mention you are available for further questions. Many people in the press can use experts in all fields for quotes for future articles and then some. You could be that person!
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