50 ideas for grabbing the media’s attention: Create your own media [PART 4]

This is part four of an seven-part series on earning the media’s attention and getting the coverage you want. Here are parts one, two and three in case you missed them.

Social media expert Chris Brogan, PR authority David Scott Meerman and others have said that in an era of blogging, social media and email marketing, all companies are media companies. Usually they apply that in the context of publishing content, especially online, that can earn the attention of potential customers and help convert prospects and leads to sales.

Make your own media - printing press plates

Photo by {a title="Bill Owen's stock.xchng site" href="http://www.sxc.hu/profile/bill_owen" target="_blank"}Bill Owen{/a}

But by becoming a mini media company – through blogging and other tactics – companies and organizations can also get media attention and earn positive news coverage. As a bonus, many of these can do double-duty as mailings to clients and

prospects or fodder for content marketing efforts. Here are five specific tactics for getting the coverage you deserve:

1. Write an article or op-ed piece that a publication could run on its own. Many outlets run pieces written by outside sources, including industry experts and executives. Here are three tips to get you started:

  1. Pitch your idea and get the go-ahead from an editor first. Don’t waste time writing something you can’t place. Sometimes an editor may ask you to submit something before making a decision, but if possible get commitment to run the piece first.
  2. Write in a newsy, plain-English style. Avoid industry jargon, drop the highly technical language (unless you’re writing for a technical publication), and skip the formal, corporate tone.
  3. Offer newsworthy, interesting content that is not blatantly self promotional. It may, however, promote a view of your industry or a view of customers’ problems that is in line with the products or services your company offers.

2. Write guest posts for blogs. As the lines between mainstream traditional media and new media (everything from the Huffington Post to local blogs) blur, guest posting can be an excellent strategy to get coverage. Not only do you get readers directly from those blogs, but mainstream reporters may follow-up with you as a source since you’ve established yourself as a credible expert on a topic.

3. Administer a survey (it may or may not be associated with your business). Then announce the survey results to relevant reporters. Surveys are popular fodder for stories, and journalists will usually, at least, cite the sponsor of the survey. The survey should be credible, but it doesn’t have to be the most scientifically rigorous study ever produced to be interesting and newsworthy.

4. Write a letter to the editor.  Sometimes when you want your voice heard in an important debate or discussion in your industry, writing a letter to the editor is a good way to get your view across. This is not a place to idly pontificate on an issue. But if you or your company has a specific viewpoint or position that you want heard, this can be a very effective tactic to get in the media. The key is to be brief, persuasive and have an opinion. Because publications are often sensitive to companies using letters to the editor as a promotional tactic, you must have something authentic to say and you must avoid anything that reeks of self promotion.

5. Record short videos, post them online and send the links to journalists. Just as with blogging, a short video can be effective in making your voice heard on specific topics and issues, and allowing journalists to hear your positions on them. This is can be an especially effective tactic if you’re targeting broadcast media that will be interested in how you come across visually and how you sound. This doesn’t mean your video has to be broadcast quality, but paying attention to lighting and sound will improve the quality.

Have questions about how to create your own media? Want to add another tactic or have a resource to suggest? Please share it in the comments below.

Coming next: Get story ideas from the media. Sign up for the email list to make sure you don’t miss any of the posts in this seven-part series.

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