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What you need to know about the media

Reported by Jill Chivers, Flying Solo
Thursday, June 7, 2012
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Getting your business in the media can help boost sales and bring in more business, but how do you attract the media’s attention?

The media is a hungry beast, but it doesn’t “eat” everything it’s fed. In order to gain some exposure in the media, you need to understand what it does — and does not — want. Without this awareness, your media efforts will not succeed.

Here’s the harsh reality that you need to appreciate about the media: it doesn’t care about you or your business. It isn’t interested in your service or product. And it certainly isn’t interested in helping you boost your sales or build your business.

This is both good and bad news for the soloist seeking media attention.

The bad news? A typical pitch to the media that is focused on your services, products or business is likely to be met with a rejection or, more simply, no response at all. Letting an editor or producer know about how great you are just isn’t the right way to approach the media – it misses the point.

The good news? If you know what the media are looking for you can craft a tailored pitch to particular people in the media that really hits the mark. The result? You are featured or included in a media story that lifts your profile and sets you on a bigger platform from which to share your message.

What the media wants

What is the media interested in? As a soloist seeking to attract media attention, you need to know the answer to this if you are to have any chance of your media pitch succeeding.

The media is interested in creating an interesting story that keeps their listeners, viewers and readers tuned in.

The media environment is very competitive, very crowded and very noisy. There is much competition in each medium for capturing consumers’ limited and precious attention. Journalists, reporters and editors know that their job is to create fascinating content that keeps viewers, listeners and readers tuned in – not switching off or flicking over to a competitor’s story.

What does this mean for you – a soloist pitching your story to the media? Well, it makes your task easier and slightly more challenging.

Get in the media mindset

Firstly, from a mindset perspective, you need to appreciate that your business, your services and your products are not interesting in themselves to the media. Shift your thinking so that you are standing in the shoes of the reporter, producer or editor – why is your story interesting to their listeners, viewers and readers? What will you and your story offer consumers that will engage, challenge or inspire them? You must be able to answer that question in your pitch.

Secondly, from a practical perspective, you need to pitch to the media in a way that signals you clearly understand your role. And that role is to help the journalist, editor or producer to create a fascinating story. What is so fascinating about your story? What bold statements or fascinating facts can you headline your pitch with? How can you back that up in the body of your pitch so that it leaves a reporter wanting to know more?

When you shift your perspective to view the media as your very best customer, you shift both your thinking and your behaviour. You think less about what you can get out of media attention and more about what you can contribute to it. Central to this is creating win/win relationships and crafting specific targeted messages for particular media. You’ll significantly increase your chances of succeeding with the media if you do.

Have you had success with pitching to the media? What was it about your pitch that made it a winner?

To comment on this article, head here.

For more from Jill Chivers, head to www.flyingsolo.com.au, Australia's community for solo and micro business owners.

23/09/2014 12:17Sydney, Australia. 23 September,2014
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