5 top tools to get in the press

September 26, 2022

No industry relies on just one tool. From the military and mechanics to salespeople and financial advisors, circumstances and client needs dictate which tools and procedures are appropriate for the desired outcome.

Your communications team also has a series of unique tools for getting your message past the media noise and in front of your target audiences. And just like the tools in your shop, they are most effective when deployed at the right time and place.

Here are five important tools your communications team is likely using to earn media coverage:

Press releases provide unique and detailed information about various situations in which your organization is involved.

They are great for announcing new events, product launches, office openings, and hires.

Organize them around the inverted pyramid model – the most critical information goes at the top. Try to keep them at 400 words or less.

Target all media gatekeepers who will find your content valuable and interesting for their audiences – such as journalists, editors, and producers.

Statements are quick reactions to what’s going on in your company or the industry.

Use these sparingly, because they probably won’t have as much substance as press releases. You don’t want to annoy gatekeepers.

They’re excellent tools for crisis communications, significant industry happenings for which you are uniquely qualified to provide comment, or easy media opportunities with friendly media.

Keep them short. They should be no more than two small paragraphs, with a short introduction of who you are and why your statement matters.

Target all media gatekeepers who will find your content valuable and interesting for their audiences. Again, don’t waste them on people who will find them to be a waste of time.

Op-eds are written thought leadership material where you control the message.

Use them to drive your narrative about your unique message related to what’s going on in your community or industry. This is not an ad, so don’t make it about you or your organization.

They will typically be 550 to 800 words, depending upon the outlet.

Target them to op-ed editors, whose job is to provide the best opinions to their readers.

Interviews provide opportunities for extended thought leadership commentary for articles, podcasts, radios, and TV shows.

Use them to drive your narrative about your unique message, in a speaking capacity.

Keep it short for articles and TV interviews; you can expound more on radio and podcasts.

Just like press releases and statements, these can go to a range of gatekeepers. However, you’ll often want to reach out one-on-one, due to gatekeepers’ preferences for exclusive opportunities.

Media lists are your team’s contact database for building relationships with key gatekeepers.

They include the most relevant media outlets for your message and their gatekeepers. Typically, this is organized around an issue, an industry, or a geographical region.

A media list is often helpful when sending a message widely, such as a statement or a press release.

The list is also a good resource to build one-on-one relationships with important media allies.

A multi-layered approach to media success

If your PR team was a military unit, it wouldn’t rely on just one piece of equipment. Everyone in the unit would have standard weapons, perhaps an M-16, but there would also be special-issue sniper rifles for overhead cover, radio equipment for communicating with air support, and medical equipment in case of injury.

In the same way, communication tools accomplish different goals while often supporting the others. Your interview or op-ed might be effective, but your press release will help expand your message’s reach. Your team should develop a multi-layered approach to position your unique message in the press, and then use your marketing tools to create a multiplier effect which earns trust with your target audiences.

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