A lot has to go right to get into the press. You and your organization must know what outlets will reach your target market. Preparation is key, as is knowing what media gatekeepers are looking for.
Your press efforts will fall into two broad categories: news leading and news following. You lead if you are launching a product or hosting an event; you follow if you are reacting to what’s already in the press.
Any person or organization can effectively use either of these strategies. However, poorly-branded firms and individuals will have limitations.
News leaders have an advantage with local and industry press. Gatekeepers are often interested in events, new company products, or reaching new target markets. Press releases and exclusive media opportunities play key roles for news leaders. So does the opportunity to maximize potential coverage through engaging industry or media influencers ahead of time.
However, a well-branded company will have more opportunities for coverage than one which is little-known. Poorly-branded firms may be drowned out by larger and/or better-established companies. And entering a new market or region is always difficult.
Following the news cycle is very different from leading it. Unique commentary or analysis is key to success. A poorly-branded company can use this to great effect because some opportunities can be prepared for in advance.
However, a poorly-branded organization is limited in press opportunities. One-shot opportunities like op-eds are more likely to succeed than statements sent to gatekeepers. This is because established firms and individuals are often more known and considered more credible. They also add more credibility to the outlet than a person or entity which is unknown.
Whether you follow or lead, get in the press
Getting in the press is more important than whether you’re a news follower or a news leader. Make sure that you use your placements as part of an overall strategy, not a Whack-a-Mole approach which is reactive instead of pro-active.