If you’re thinking about trying to get free press coverage in magazines or newspapers, whether it’s in local media, a regional media outlet or syndicated media – one thing you want to identify and avoid are common mistakes people make as they begin the process.
Avoiding these mistakes will help you eliminate common problems people encounter when trying to get free press coverage. All too often, people try and fail at their attempts to get into the media. If you’re thinking about getting into the media, here are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
Mistake No. 1
First, having a canned approach to trying to get into the media will lock you out of getting into that media outlet. All too often, people try to send press releases or faxes to media outlets. Bad move.
Most media outlets and most reporters that I’ve talked to have stacks and stacks of faxes that usually end up in the “round” file. Avoid that. Unless you know the person, and you have an existing relationship with them, honestly, you’re wasting your time if you’re sending them faxes, unless it’s an extremely pressing issue that you have first access to.
The power of the fax is when you have breaking news that no one else may have, so you want to make sure of that. With the power of the Internet, a lot of times people can get breaking news through syndicated content distributors such as AP news and other syndicated outlets.
Mistake No. 2
Second, you need to make sure that you identify what matters most to reporters, what matters most to editors and overall, to the magazine as a whole. Again, in the past I’ve talked about the power of understanding a magazine’s subscriber base or maybe, let’s say, a newspaper in the business section, they may talk about a specific or relevant business issue. You need to make sure you know what the readers are actually reading.
Mistake No. 3
Another thing you want to think about is the actual size of the articles that you’re submitting. You can do word counts online by simply looking at an article or content and dropping it into a word processor. That, at a level that most people don’t think of, sends a message to the editor that you’ve done your homework.
Mistake No. 4
Not having an end-to-end plan can actually cost you an opportunity getting press. You need to have a plan, and the plan needs to outline who you are targeting, why you are targeting them, for what reasons and for what time period do you intend on targeting them? Having a plan documented – it can be a very simple one-page plan – is really important to helping you to get into the media. Don’t have a plan, and you can forget about getting in. It’s that simple.
Mistake No. 5
Trying to sell the media on “you” is a losing battle. You need to sell the media on content that is relevant to their subscribers, intellectually stimulates readers and gives them a sense of identity with information that’s valuable to the readers.
Avoiding these five mistakes can really make a big difference for you if you’re trying to get into the media. Taking the time to think things through will really help you. It will give you a competitive advantage over other people who are trying to compete in the same media space with which you are trying to compete.