The Wall Street Journal… The New York Times… The Today Show. Often considered the “dream list” of media outlets by most businesses, seeking national media coverage can quickly become a curse vs. a blessing if you’re not incredibly strategic in your approach! Before seeking the national spotlight, there are several important factors business owners must consider.
Are you ready to compete with the big guys? - You really have to think about what makes your brand special and sets your product or service apart from your competition before going big. What is your brand’s story, hook or angle? Can you present it in a quick but clear fashion that will grab the media’s attention without wasting their time? Is it of interest to the masses, or just a niche product that would be better suited to promote through specialized, industry or topic-specific media outlets? If there are major competitors in your industry that already have national attention, define what makes you different and better before reaching out to national media outlets.
Seek the help of a skilled PR professional - Perhaps you’re a savvy business owner and have done well getting local media coverage on your own? While this is not impossible with national media contacts, if you truly want to see consistent results, you should consider retaining the services of a good public relations professional. PR experts have solid relationships with all levels of media and understands how to provide your business with the messaging and press kit materials that get results. Use them to your advantage to ensure you are properly prepared to speak to media outlets using clear, concise and “to-the-point” language and that you have all the essential tools that national reporters are looking for.
Prepare for the long term – A professional PR campaign that is focusing on national media coverage can be expensive. Depending upon your goals and industry, you should plan on committing to a campaign for a minimum of six months and dedicating at least 5k to 10k per month to cover the costs. It is also important to remember that unless you have a breaking news story, national media coverage is going to take some time to secure. Always look at PR as an ongoing brand and awareness building campaign vs. something that is going to make you rich overnight.
Are you ready for the masses? – Once your product or service gets national attention, you will have national demand. If everything goes according to plan, you’ll have an entirely new and expanded customer base in a short amount of time, so make sure you are prepared to serve these new clients without sacrificing the level of quality you are currently providing. Plan for additional costs associated with inventory, shipping, new locations, travel requirements or hiring additional employees in order to keep up with the demand for your business.
While seeing your company’s name in the national spotlight can be alluring, extensive planning and proper execution are essential to having a successful national media relations campaign. Work with your PR team to craft a cohesive strategy and polish up your PR tools in order to prevent your headline from turning into a punchline.
Jackie Wright is the President and owner of Rainmaker Integrated, a Scottsdale-based PR and Marketing firm. With more than 17 years of experience in the public relations & marketing industry, she currently works with a variety of businesses to help them execute their integrated marketing strategies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @azprgal.