One of the most valuable promotional tools for any new, or established brand is to get covered within the mainstream media. When your business is spoken about and showcased by trusted media sources this not only builds brand awareness but grows consumer confidence in your product or service.
In this article we will discuss a few simple methods of gaining widespread and targeted media coverage for your brand through innovative PR tactics.
A lot of people tend to overcomplicate and overthink how they go about this when most of the time it really just comes down to a simple value exchange between the brand and the journalist/publisher.
Here are a few simple tactics we use to get our clients noticed.
1. Recruit Some High Profile Brand Ambassadors
This is one of the simplest but most effective methods to gain vast amounts of coverage for your brand. By recruiting a high profile brand ambassador(s) such as Sports Stars, Politicians, Celebrities etc. who are prepared to do interviews, you have now gained your side of the value exchange.
Once you have your brand ambassador you must research who the best journalists are to interview them. So, for example, if your ambassador is one of the Irish Rugby Team, you make a list of the main Rugby journalists in each of the biggest publications and invite them to interview your brand ambassador in exchange for use of your branded imagery (which you have shot at an earlier time/date) and caption of key brand messaging to accompany the interview in their publication.
In the case above, the interview that will appear in the publication will be mainly about Rugby, however your key brand message and imagery will be embedded within the piece creating an immediate brand affinity to the reader.
2. Throw a Brand Launch Party / Event
Sounds simple right? That’s because it is. If you throw a badass enough party with some high profile guests, music, food and drinks, who wouldn’t want to go! The media are people just like the rest of us and people always want to be entertained.
It’s important when organising a launch party to make it as easy as possible for media to cover the important messages from the night and not just simply enjoy themselves, head home and forget everything.
Here’s a few important points to remember:
- Make sure to include a printed press release / key messages doc inside a take home goody bag.
- Follow up with a thank you email reinforcing why you threw the party.
- Create a cool area for branded pictures and make them easy to share.
- Don’t think everyone is going to show up, always over invite.
- If you’re going to make a speech get it in early and let people enjoy the day/night
- Make it exclusive and always follow up beforehand with reminders so you know how many will be there.
3. Bring the Media Along for the Ride
One of the most effective methods for getting media to become advocates for your brand is let them experience why it is great. This is especially effective with niche brands that have really cool edge but just don’t know how to get the word out there or small brands in a big competitive market.
One example of how this would work would be to take a new gym or training facility as an example. The gym could simply offer four journalists, radio presenters, or influencers a free intense 6 week personal training and nutrition challenge leading up to summer with the gym in exchange for them documenting their progress in their column or on their show.
See the below example from MaxiMuscle:
4. Individualised Brand Centric Gifting
We all love gifts, and we love them even more when they are made specifically for us!
Yes, you can send out a few cup cakes with your press release and you might get the odd tweet here and there but if you can create something specific to the person you are sending it to and is of value to them you have a much greater chance of gaining traction.
One example of how this worked recently in the Irish market is a fairly simple creation by the brand Cúl Heroes who make collectable GAA playing cards/stickers, similar to the Premier League sticker album you might have had as a child. They created individualised playing cards for all the journalists, in their county colours and it got a great reaction.
Cul Heroes Example:
5. Brand Publicity Stunts
Publicity stunts are generally regarded as planned events made to gain exposure and get the public’s attention. These are great activations for challenger brands looking to make a big splash and can gain massive awareness if they go well.
They aren’t a sure fire promotional method, as they can sometimes go wrong altogether and very often just pass by without anyone noticing. However, as I mentioned above, when they go right, they can drive your brand to the next level quicker than any of the other type of activation.
In Ireland, Paddy Power are the kings of publicity stunts, I don’t think anyone will disagree with that. But there have been many other brands who have jumped on that bandwagon in recent years, most notably Lidl with the Ladyball stunt which was used to launch their sponsorship of the LGFA, Ladies Football All Ireland.
As part of the build-up to the campaign launch, Lidl created a clever and funny video called Ladyball, which supposedly advertised a new pink football created especially for ladies. The campaign was led by digital channels and supported by PR, print, radio, editorial on TV, press and online along with a press conference for the official sponsorship announcement. The campaign immediately trended and went global including receiving a mention in the Washington Post.
Lady Ball Video:
6. Telling Your Brand Story from the Right Point of View
One of the biggest mistakes that brand owners make when pitching in stories to newspapers is to think that anyone actually cares about your company. We get it, you love your company and you think all the little wins are the greatest thing since sliced bread but not everyone else does, that’s why you have to take a different approach when pitching in stories.
Look at it from the point of view of the journalist. Is this information going to get clicks or shares online, and is it going to sell papers? If not then it is not much use to them.
See below for a few interesting angles that can work well when pitching in stories:
- Partnerships: Did you join forces with a recognisable brand/ambassador/team/charity?
- Investments: Did you just get a big investment or new funding?
- Trends: Are you at the forefront of capitalising on something new and trend-worthy?
- Employment: Did you create a large number of new jobs?
- Conflict: Do you genuinely disagree with a competitor and believe you have a better way of doing things?
- David vs. Goliath: Are you a “little guy” taking on a “big cause?”
- Surprising: Do you have a story with an unexpected twist, ending, or findings?
- Giveaways: Do you have a massive prize to giveaway? Are you doing something to give back to the community?
7. Building Genuine Relationships
Ah yes, actually making friends! A concept that might be alien to some in the modern digital age.
No, I don’t mean sending a friend request on Facebook. I mean good old traditional networking and talking face to face. Get down to events that your target media might be attending and speak to them. There is a good possibility you will have a lot in common considering they will generally be writing about the industry you are trying to leverage for your brand, so don’t be scared, say hello!