One of the challenges we often face at EMSI is helping our clients understand the need to tailor their message – or even condense it – so that it appeals to busy editors and producers whose email inboxes are inundated with pitches.
That’s the name of the game with publicity. If you can’t sell the media on your message, you won’t reach your audience.
It’s a lesson I learned early on in this business. I built my company on a pay-for-performance approach, so it was clear that if I was going to be successful I would need to serve two clients – those who pay me to get them in the media, but also the media themselves by giving them content that suits their needs and engages their audiences.
Just this week some of the team members at EMSI and I were discussing how some clients have big, complicated messages with numerous working parts, all of which they want to cram into one short article or interview. That’s just not going to work. It’s like trying to stuff your entire wardrobe into one carry-on travel bag.
In that situation, we tell them, it’s better to break your message down into bite-size chunks, pitching easily digestible portions of it to the media rather than trying to serve them every item on your menu.
I’d say most people get this once you explain it to them. But, unfortunately, not everyone does.
Not long ago, one client rebuffed our efforts to help him massage his message in a way that would give it broader appeal, saying, “I’m not here to please the media.”
Uh, yes, you are. The media are the gatekeepers between you and the audience you’re trying to reach, and they hear daily from tons of other people who are competing with you to get into print, on radio or on TV.
If you can’t get past those gatekeepers, your message won’t get out at all.
Let’s take a look at a few things you should keep in mind when you’re trying to get the media’s attention:
- Understand the media’s role. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Think in terms of what you can do for the media, not what the media can do for you. The media’s goal is to provide their audiences with interesting and important information. By doing that, they grow their audience and can charge more for advertising which grows their business! They have no interest in selling your company, book or product, or helping you land clients. That’s why you need to figure out what’s important to them and provide it.
- Never pitch yourself or your product. Instead, pitch the issue that you’re an expert on or the problem your product solves. That’s what will pique the interest of an editor or a producer. Don’t write a pitch that says, “Want to interview the best fitness trainer in the state? That’s me!” Instead, try something along the lines of: “Many people begin the New Year vowing to exercise more. I can provide your (readers, listeners, viewers) with tips on how to follow through on those resolutions.”
- Follow the news. Are there stories happening in the news right now that could mesh well with your area of expertise. For example, a financial planner could offer his or her thoughts on a just-released study that shows Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement. A doctor could weigh in on new health research.
Every day at EMSI we’re doing just this sort of thing, identifying our client’s passion and expertise, and combining this with our understanding of the media’s needs to get them spotlighted in the news on an ongoing basis.
Since we serve both, it’s always a great day when we make the client and the media equally happy.
That’s the perfect fit!
P.S. If you need professional help defining your message and getting in the news, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.