Successful businesses and nonprofits tell their stories through multiple forms of communication, including public relations. Those following PR tips and best practices often see their news in the headlines.
Priority Marketing Founder, President and Chief Creative Officer Teri Hansen, APR, had an opportunity to emcee a recent panel discussion for Above Board Chamber of Florida. The session, titled “How to Get Discovered by the Media,” provided valuable insights, actionable strategies and other PR tips to help local businesses and nonprofit organizations effectively leverage media exposure.
“Advertising is certainly an important strategy that helps businesses get noticed, but earned media is also an incredibly valuable tool in reaching your target audience,” Teri said. “The media landscape is continuously evolving, yet print, television and radio remain strong platforms to tell your story. The key is knowing who to contact and how to approach them with story ideas.”
The panel featured seven active members of the local media and covered a variety of topics. Panelists primarily offered PR tips to help audience members better connect with the media.
Below is some of the advice shared during the Above Board Chamber panel.
PR Tips: The Panelists and Their Advice
Teri moderated the 90-minute panel discussion that featured seven accomplished professionals representing the full spectrum of media: print, television, radio and online. Panelists, listed in alphabetical order, addressed a multitude of topics and provided many PR tips.
Shari Armstrong: Anchor/Reporter, FOX4
- Tip 1: Be selective with your pitches. Media are bombarded with news releases and pitches. Get to know reporters and the topics they cover. Sending mass emails, the equivalent of cold-calling, is not an effective PR strategy. “Newsrooms across the industry are shrinking, so the number of people looking at your emails is dwindling.”
- Tip 2: Be factual and accurate. Double-check and triple-check all facts, numbers and information in news releases and pitches. Media may have at one time raced to break a story; today, accuracy is paramount and media organizations can lose credibility in a heartbeat. “Having the facts is more important than having it first.”
Corey Lewis: General Manager, WGCU Public Media
- Tip 1: Know what media will and won’t cover, publish or air. WGCU, for instance, does not broadcast opinion pieces or stories featuring just one perspective. “We feel like the audience for themselves can determine their viewpoints.”
- Tip 2: Online news platforms were once considered a digital threat to traditional media. Now, they’re seen as a digital opportunity. A story originating in Southwest Florida with a local reporter can quickly go national through media collaborations and partnerships. “Every story happens somewhere. It’s produced locally for global consumption.”
Paul Lodato: General Manager, Christian Television Network of Southwest Florida
- Tip 1: Media need ample video – horizontal video with good audio. When distributing news releases, include video, if possible, to help television stations tell the story. Make it easy on producers by including a download link. “In today’s ‘sights and sounds’ generation, you have to use video.”
- Tip 2: Despite changes in the media landscape, the TV remains a fixture in every household. “There are still more TVs than toilet seats in America.”
AJ Lurie: Vice President and Market Manager of Operations, Beasley Media Group
- Tip 1: Listening to “the radio” no longer means tuning into an FM or AM station. Despite being known for its radio offerings, Beasley is attracting followers who stream stations online and follow the lineup on social media. “We have a larger online audience than on-air audience.”
- Tip 2: Even non-news stations provide news content. Radio stations do not have large teams of reporters, and instead rely on businesses and nonprofits to share their own news. “Content is hugely important. The more help we can get, the better.”
Cindy McCurry-Ross: Executive Editor, The News-Press
- Tip 1. Protecting the First Amendment remains a guiding principle, as does holding officials accountable for their actions. “There is nothing more important to me than maintaining the role our organization plays in protecting the free press for Americans.”
- Tip 2. The News-Press is no longer just a newspaper. Southwest Florida residents can get their news through the paper, of course, as well as email, social media, websites, podcasts and other platforms. “We go where the audience is, and we’re seeing success with that.”
Karen Moore: Publisher, Southwest Florida Business Today
- Tip 1: Monthly publications can publish news on a daily basis. Southwest Florida Business Today publishes a new print edition each month, but its website runs 24/7. That platform allows more frequent updates and provides an opportunity to post items that were not featured in the print edition. “Everybody is in the daily news business now.”
- Tip 2: Every story has the potential to go viral, but you can’t always predict which story it will be. Some stories inevitably will draw more readership, especially when they generate meaningful engagement on social media. “One of these viral stories could be your story.”
Eric Strachan: Editor, Florida Weekly (Naples and Bonita Springs editions)
- Tip 1: Publications welcome contributed content and news tips. In fact, small newsrooms rely on contributors for content and readers for news tips. “It’s more eyes out in the community that we don’t have.”
- Tip 2: Include images with news releases and guest articles. Newspaper and magazine designers need images to help tell a story visually. Rather than posed photos, capture candid images of people actually doing something. Also, it’s critical to provide names. “It’s important to know who is in the photo and who took the photo.”
Priority Marketing’s portfolio of public relations services includes copywriting, media pitching, communications strategy, speech development, crisis communications, media training, event promotion and more. The firm’s client partners represent a broad spectrum of industries, including hospitality and tourism, retail, health care, senior living, legal, financial, government, education and locally owned businesses, as well as nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations.
Priority Marketing clients regularly earn media coverage in newspapers and magazines, on television and radio, and on blogs, social media and websites.
Need a public relations professional to help secure earned media coverage? Please give us a call today at 239-267-2638 or send an email to LetsTalk@PriorityMarketing.com.