media coverage

Getting Featured: Six Tips to Secure More Media Coverage for Your Business

Some companies seem to get in their own way when it comes to earning media coverage.
I’ve seen it time and again.

They wonder why they’re not getting more “hits.” 
Could it be that they’re making it hard for reporters to cover them?
And if so, WHY would they do that? 
As someone who has spent much of their career helping clients secure media coverage, it confounds me when I see simple things a business could be doing to help busy reporters out – but for some reason, they don’t.

When we make it easier for journalists to cover our business, it stands to reason that they’re more likely to include it in their stories. If it’s not easy to include a company, they may just move on.

Even if you don’t have an in-house PR team or work with an outside resource like a public relations consultant, there are some simple things anyone can do that may increase the odds of inclusion in a journalist’s story.

Six Things You Can Do Today to Make It Easier for a Reporter to Include Your Company in a Story 

Here are a few ideas that are simple to implement to help make it easier for reporters to cover your business:

1) Have a dedicated press or news area on your site.

It’s important to have a press or news area featured in an easy-to-locate spot on your site because it allows journalists to quickly see the following:

•Your company news in the form of press releases:

Do you post your press releases on your site?

I once heard a respected marketer say something like, “Why would a company take up space on their site with their press releases?”

Here are three reasons:

  • It makes it easy for reporters to find the information they need to cover your business.
  • It shows the history of your news. At a glance, a reporter can see what’s been announced and when. It speaks to your company’s momentum, as releases are posted chronologically.
  • Press releases serve as the official word from the company itself. In a time when anyone can make any claim, there’s value in the credibility of a press release. Your reputation matters. To add even more credibility, it may make sense in some cases to pay to issue your release on a wire service.

One additional note about press releases: Don’t turn them into PDFs. No one, including a reporter, can use those.

•Any news stories that may have appeared about your brand:

This gives you a chance to feature earned media articles that include your company.

Sometimes journalists view this as a vote of confidence – as in, “These other journalists thought this company was credible enough to include in their stories, so I’ll include it, too.”

•Visual elements:

Adding visuals that are easy to download simplifies a journalist’s life. This includes videos, as well as executive headshots, logos, and other commonly used images. And, make it easy to request additional imagery.

It’s notable that imagery is playing a more significant role than ever in a reporter’s decision as to whether to include a company or not. Editors have told me they can be swayed to include one business over another if one has compelling high-resolution photos and video to accompany a story or news item. 

2) List a media contact who monitors requests.

I thought about including this under the press area section above – but it’s SO important I decided it deserves its own dedicated section.

Be sure to list a press contact reporters can turn to with any questions or requests. And it shouldn’t be a generic “” type of email address. Make sure whoever you list is actually monitoring the inbox.

You might think this would go without saying. But, if you talk with reporters, you begin to understand that it happens more often than you might think.

This topic came up on my YouTube show PR Explored when Frank Strong talked with me about media relations. We were both in disbelief that any company would fail to list a media contact who would do anything less than prioritize a response to a media query.

Then, an article about this appeared in Provoke Media.

“While an email query to a person almost always gets at least some kind of response, “Contact Us” website forms and general email addresses like are often a dead end,” says the reporter who wrote the piece.

“A quick search of the ten largest companies in Asia reveals only one (Toyota) with humans in its media relations team; others, like Samsung Electronics, offer a profusion of options for customers to contact the company (including sign language, email, and chatbot) but no options for media,” she continues. “All have news hubs full of content; several had no way to follow up.”

“All the communications strategies in the world will not help if you have not got the basics in place,” commented Mary Devereux, an experienced PR professional based in Hong Kong. “It’s ‘media relations 101’ to be contactable and helpful.”

 Quick story: I once worked with a client that listed a media contact with an email address that I didn’t realize wasn’t being closely monitored. This meant that when a reporter from a major technology publication contacted them to clarify a point so he could include the client in a story, NO ONE responded for weeks. He sent at least two messages – and received nothing back. So, he moved forward and included the company, but some of the information was inaccurate.

I can’t tell you how hard we had to work to get a correction made to that story. The whole incident could’ve been avoided had the client simply listed a contact that was monitoring the messages DAILY and responding – or at least ensuring the messages got to someone who could answer.

If you have no resource like an internal public relations contact or PR consultant to list, list someone in marketing. (And no, it should be handled by a bot.)

Whoever you list, make sure they understand that messages should be checked daily – and that if a reporter does get in touch, they should acknowledge receipt – or immediately forward the message to the public relations contact or team so they can respond.

Please remember, media relations is not something you can put on the back burner. It should be a priority

That starts with having someone who can be responsive to any incoming media queries. Reporters are often on deadline and can’t wait indefinitely for your reply.

3) Be present on social media: Besides checking out a company’s site, journalists will often look at its social media presence. If there is none – or if the company hasn’t posted or engaged there for months – that can signal that it doesn’t have much going on.  

But, you may say, we can’t be active on ALL the social media platforms. Who has time for that?

You don’t. And you don’t need to be present on ALL of them.  

But – being active on at least one social media outlet is a good idea. For B2B companies, that’s LinkedIn. If you’re a B2C brand, it’s more complicated.

usually advise businesses to be active on social media platforms where the largest share of their audience, including current customers and prospects, is spending time. 

Be sure to post regularly and interact with those commenting on your posts. Of course, you can take it further and engage with others’ posts. In B2B PR, engaging with partners and other collaborators who tag your business can be beneficial.

Journalists may look at your presence there to see if what you’re posting aligns with a pitch you’ve sent them or with what they already know about your company.

Another thought: your social media posts often show up in search results. Google your business to see for yourself. Journalists are most certainly searching for your business if they’re considering including you in any stories they write.

It’s also a good idea to follow journalists that you want to notice you. Follow the media outlet they work for and the journalist’s account. Engage with them if and when it makes sense. It’s a good way to get on their radar.

And, if a reporter does cover your company, be sure to share that story on social media (tagging the reporter and the media outlet), in your newsletter, and on your site because the more people who see it and read it, the more likely it is that they’ll write about the topic or include your company in future stories. It’s not an ego trip – they sincerely appreciate your acknowledgment of their work. These days, as media layoffs continue, they need all the support we can give them. Further, the more views a story receives, the more likely the reporter is to write more stories on this topic.
4) Keep your messaging up-to-date and ensure it’s consistent: If a reporter is considering including a company in a story and starts to do research only to find that the information it’s put out there is contradictory, that may raise more questions than it answers. 

Ensuring your messaging is consistent and up-to-date can alleviate this type of confusion. This means revisiting what you post on your site and social media periodically.

It also means that your C-suite executives should be singing from the same songbook – if they’re giving presentations at industry events, for example, there should be a throughline. If everyone is off doing their own thing, this can cause your messaging to appear muddled to an outside observer like a reporter (not to mention a potential customer). 

A style guide can help. Regular updates from your communications team should go out whenever significant changes occur. Consistency can be hard to achieve, but it matters so journalists and other audiences don’t become confused.

5) Prepare before you pitch: If you plan to pitch a story to a reporter, be sure to get ready to provide any additional information they may ask for. This might include things like customer references, visuals or data:

 Customer references: Before you give out a customer’s name and contact information to a journalist, be sure they’re happy with your business currently and open to talking about their experience.
Visuals: Do you have visual elements ready to accompany this story? If so, offer those in your pitch and be ready to send them upon request – or include a link to them in your pitch.

If I’m working with a reporter on a story on behalf of a client, I now try to send visuals even when a reporter doesn’t request them. Working as a B2B PR consultant in manufacturing public relations, editors usually appreciate this, as many trade publications want to include images with their pieces.

Don’t forget about including captions (which are yet another branding opportunity) and photo credits.

You can use a service like WeTransfer to make it easier to download images. Some reporters don’t like email attachments, especially large ones.

Data: Sometimes, it’s helpful to link to data, so think about what you might be able to reference. You can use your own if you have it or use publicly available data if you don’t.
6) Don’t engage in practices that turn reporters off: If you’re seeking media coverage, remember not to engage in practices that repel reporters.

Here are a few examples.

Insisting you get to review the piece before it’s published.

Sometimes, a client doesn’t understand that earned media secured through a PR consultant isn’t the same as an ad. That means you probably won’t get a chance to review the story before it’s published.

There are a few occasions when a reporter may ask you to review the piece (or the quotes they plan to include). But it’s not a common practice. Earned media isn’t something you can control like paid media.

Here, a reporter talks about a situation she found herself in. “A property company targeted me with a press release about its new building, which included rooftop gardens. Good timing: I was writing an article about rooftop gardens, so I drafted a few simple questions and asked for a written response within two weeks. After a long email exchange where I was asked to guarantee that none of their competitors would be mentioned, that their president had to read the piece in advance, and that they needed at least three weeks’ notice, they declined to participate.”

By placing obstacles like this in the way, the company lost the opportunity to be included in the story. Or, I guess I should say, when the journalist couldn’t guarantee their demands would be met, they decided to opt out.

Making a reporter jump through hoops to get access.

Reporters are busy people. They’re often on deadline. This means that any impediment a potential source puts in their way may spell the end of the opportunity.

“My favorite was when I wanted to email Ford to ask for a comment, and I had to fill out an application to even be allowed to communicate with them,” a reporter on Twitter remarked.

When you engage in practices like this, you sabotage your own media relations efforts.

You should have a media contact with an email and a phone number listed (see no. 2) to make it as easy as possible for a reporter to reach you.

Not making yourself available.

There’s nothing more frustrating than when a business puts out an announcement – a reporter contacts them to ask a question – and there is no one available to respond.

The reporter in the Provoke Media story mentioned above shared this anecdote about when she tried to get in touch with a business about a topic she was covering. “I got out-of-office responses from all four members of the communications department; the earliest to return would be available only two weeks later.”

To avoid this type of situation, look at the calendar before you make an announcement. Will a PR representative and a spokesperson be available when the news goes out to reporters? If not, choose a time when they will be.

When preparing for a client to make an announcement, I always ask if the spokesperson will be reachable in case there are any questions from the media. Of course, this was after I once worked with a client who didn’t tell me their spokesperson would be out of town during the very timeframe we needed him to be available. It’s an even better idea to have not only a spokesperson but a backup, in case any emergency arises. Again, the media WON’T wait (they often can’t).

Failing to show up when you say you will.

Anyone who works in public relations has probably had to handle a situation in which a source doesn’t show up for an interview.

Sometimes, wires can get crossed, and someone mixes up the schedule. But talking with a reporter should be a priority that needs to be honored. If you book a time to speak with a reporter and later can’t make it, let them know so the meeting can be rescheduled. A no-show tells the reporter that it wasn’t a priority for you. It also damages the relationship between the reporter and your PR consultant. Media relations is built on relationships, so you always want to do everything in your power to prioritize a reporter’s time and requests.

Spamming out the same pitch to hundreds of reporters.

When you pitch a story, use care. That means you shouldn’t spam it out to hundreds of them at once.

Instead, do your research to determine a reporter (or maybe a handful of reporters) who’s the best fit for your pitch. Spend some time reading the kind of stories they write so you can craft a pitch they may be more apt to actually read.

Let’s be clear: MORE pitches do not result in MORE media coverage.

More on how to pitch reporters here.

Failing to prepare – or follow up.

If you’re able to land an interview with a journalist, be a good source. That means:

  • Do your homework: Read a few of their stories to familiarize yourself with how they write.
  • Prepare for the interview: Anticipate what questions they may ask and what your answers will be.
  • Follow up: If you say you’ll get back to them with information, photos or additional resources, do it promptly. Your media relations consultant can help facilitate any requests.
  • Share the story: Once it’s published, be sure to share the story on social media, tagging the reporter and the media outlet.

Want More Media Coverage? Make It Easy for Reporters to Include You

If you want more earned media coverage, be the type of company a reporter wants to work with. Focusing on these fundamentals can make a real difference.

Developing relationships by being responsive and making it easy to include you in a story will go a long way toward increasing the odds that you’ll be featured more often.

Looking for a public relations consulting firm to help with your PR planning? If you’re a B2B company looking to launch or expand your PR program, let’s chat. Learn more about my PR consulting services here.

About the author: Michelle Garrett is a B2B PR consultant, writer, and speaker who helps companies create content, earn media coverage, and position themselves as thought leaders in their industry. Michelle’s articles have been featured in Entrepreneur, Muck Rack and Ragan’s PR Daily, among others. She’s a frequent speaker on public relations and content. Michelle has been repeatedly ranked among the top ten most influential PR professionals.

100% of this blog post was written by me, the human.

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