In Search Of PR Success? Think About The Media’s Needs, Not Yours

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When you have a great company or book that you want to promote, it’s easy to get so caught up in how things look from from your perspective that you start to think: “The media will want to talk to me the moment they hear about this!”

I’m sorry to report, that won’t necessarily be the case.

Instead, if you want to succeed in the publicity game, you need to take a step back and look at the world from someone else’s vantage point. In other words, stop thinking about your needs and start thinking about the media’s needs.

Remember, you and the media have different goals. You are determined to promote your personal or company brand, establish yourself as an authority in your field, and then leverage that publicity to outshine your competition.

The media, on the other hand, want to provide useful or interesting information that will keep their readers, viewers or listeners coming back. That means the onus falls on you to come up with articles or pitches that will resonate with the media’s audiences. If you can try to think like a newspaper reporter, a radio show host or a TV producer, that will go a long way in helping you to achieve your goal of getting in print or on the air!

This is why we have experienced print journalists and broadcast professionals on our team. They have been on the other side, which means thinking like the media comes naturally. It’s what they did every day for decades.

So what are some things you can do to put yourself in the media’s shoes – and give them what they want?

  • Think about the problem you can solve. I’ve said this many times: The best article and talk show ideas are those that help solve a problem the readers or audiences face, whether that problem is saving money for retirement, disciplining an unruly child or losing weight. People perk up when your message means something to them personally.
  • Keep it brief. You no doubt have a lot to say about your topic, but you don’t have to say it all in the media pitch. Print journalists and TV and radio show hosts don’t have time to read a thesis, no matter how remarkable your insights are, so keep it succinct. Think of those pitches as more like a movie preview, not the feature presentation. Certainly, you need to include enough information so that they get the gist of what you can talk about. But leave all those extraordinary and important details that you are tempted to to cram into the pitch for the actual interview!
  • Facts go further than flowery prose. While pitches and articles should be engaging and well-written, don’t get so carried away with creative language and clever phrasing that the message becomes hopelessly lost in a forest of adjectives and adverbs. Also, resist trying to impress the media with how brilliant you are by stuffing in exotic words that will send them scurrying to the dictionary. They don’t have the time or motivation to scurry. As Mark Twain put it: “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.”
  • This is not advertising. Ultimately, you probably have something you want to sell. You worked hard to get to this point and you’re justifiably proud of what you’ve accomplished and can offer to the world. I get it! But (how do I put this gently?) the media really don’t care about that. Remember, their aim is to provide useful and interesting information to readers, viewers or listeners. They want you to help them do that. If you’re after a commercial, they have advertising departments they will happily put you in touch with.

The beauty of this approach is that, by focusing on what the media want, ultimately you can get what you want! You’ll be quoted in news stories or interviewed on the air. You can then make use of your media successes by sharing them on social media or putting links on your website.

Potential customers or clients will see that you’re someone the media turn to when they need a voice of authority – so maybe they should turn to you as well!

At that point, everyone’s needs will have been met!

Helpfully yours,


P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, and being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 28 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231. We’d love to hear from you!

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