My friend Mandy Vavrinak shared some great PR tips for getting news media coverage at the recent Social Media Tulsa Conference.
|Mandy Vavrinak shares her PR tips
at Social Media Tulsa
Of course, getting news media coverage is different in small towns than when competing for big city coverage. In my small town, I’m three hours from the nearest TV stations and statewide newspapers. There’s darn little I can do (or would want to) that would get their attention. And for my hometown paper, I can write my own stories. But I can still use Mandy’s ideas about covering yourself.
Also, lots of small towns are closer to a big metro area and can compete for some “big” media attention. I know that Mandy works with smaller towns around the Tulsa metro area in her economic development work.
Here are her tips:
Build relationships first, before you ever seek coverage. Listen to the media representatives in your area on Twitter and on the news, and get to know what they want. Talk with them, compliment their good stories, and do all those basics of building relationships long before you start sharing pitches. “The most important thing is connect first, pitch later,” Mandy said.
Develop good stories. Know what constitutes news your media will cover. Find the newsworthy angles. This takes practice.
Have a helpful attitude. If you have good information, and you’re not spamming, you are helping the media, not bothering them.
Follow up in a positive way. Ask, “are you planning on covering this?” not “did you get the release?” The first one presumes they got it. If they didn’t, you get a chance to summarize it in one sentence to see if they are interested.
Cover yourself. If you’re finding the media is not interested in your stuff, cover it yourself. Use a service like small-town Wyoming based PitchEngine that allows you to build multimedia releases. PitchEngine works as a repository of your multimedia content and archives. This is different from PRWeb and related services, which are distribution networks. [Note: PRWeb stopped by to let me know they also do multimedia releases. See the comments below.]
Don’t reinvent the multimedia wheel. Use supporting materials that are freely available from others. For example, Mandy was doing a release on the importance of sprinklers in fire safety. She put together a release and included video about sprinklers from an industry source.
What PR tips would you add?
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Mandy Vavrinak says
Becky, thank you so much for sharing some of the tips from my session. Was so good to connect again in person. I think your ideas on using small town truths to run business and your social presence were insightful and made lots of people rethink ideas they brought with them into the room.
Incidentally, I spent part of the weekend back in my hometown in Kansas.
Here’s the count:
1 tractor on the highway (it’s not harvest season, or the count would definitely have been higher)
2 goat farms (small ones) near the center of town
2 handsome guys on horseback beside the highway just outside of town
(I should mention that “highway” in this sense means a two-lane blacktop road with tiny little gravel shoulders)
3 couples on quad runners racing down a side road.
4 generations of family all in one big church hall for a baby shower. :)
I took my daughters by my childhood home and showed them the pasture that was adventure central for me growing up.
I like Tulsa… but I am who I am because of where I’m from, and I try to make sure my kids stay connected to those roots. My story, and therefore THEIR story, begins in a small town in southeastern Kansas.
Becky McCray says
Mandy, that is such a perfect comment that I am going to make it into its own post.
Stacey Acevero says
Social Media Tulsa, eh? Isn’t that run by our buddy Cheryl Lawson, @partyaficionado? She’s an avid PRWeb user, love that gal! We got an invite but couldn’t make it out–glad to see a short wrap up here.
Anywhoo, noticed your mention of PRWeb in your post (appreciate that!), just wanted to note that we do in fact have multimedia press releases :) You can include photos, video, documents, PDFs, and even a live iFrame displaying your website at the bottom of the release.
Keep up the awesome posts, we’ve been following you on Twitter for quite some time now.
(Community Manager @prweb)
Becky McCray says
Stacey, thanks for the info. I must have written that down wrong during the event. I’ll make a correction in the article. Thanks!