Advertising gets expensive quickly, but you can earn media attention for your organization or cause. A successful media campaign establishes the legitimacy of your ideas and can help you reach target audiences, influence opinion leaders and persuade the public. But you’ll have to work for it.
Along with Doug Gordon of FitzGibbon Media, I led a training session at this year’s Netroots Nation convention on how to effectively generate earned media. Although there’s no secret formula, the tips below represent best practices from our collective decades of experience conducting media campaigns.
1. Define your goal and target audience.
Are you trying to pressure an elected official or build your name recognition and email list? Decide your goal first and then build your targeted media list.
2. Get to know the reporters on your target list.
Follow them on Twitter, go out for coffee, and in general try to be a resource.
3. Think like an editor, not a communications director.
An editor is constantly thinking about the person consuming their media; if you want to get coverage, you have to think like that too.
4. Be creative.
With a dwindling newsroom, the competition is more intense than ever. The more creative your approach, the better your shot at generating earned media.
5. Be in the news cycle.
It’s very difficult to create a news cycle and a lot easier to be part of an existing one. If you know a story is coming, plan for it. If you suddenly find yourself in the middle of it, change your plans to take advantage of the opportunity.