“We just want to be in the Economist”. This was a response from a potential client when I asked about target media. They were new to PR, hadn’t ever really raised their profile before and were still working through their proposition. So, appearing in the Economist was definitely a case of aiming high! But, we always like something to work towards.
Whilst clients will often give us one or two key focus publications, we usually have a range of media in our sights. We’ll share a list when we first start working with clients, and we’ll keep growing and developing this list over time.
And often, we’ll share opportunities in new publications or media with clients – sometimes ones that they haven’t heard of before. Having worked with over 100 clients since starting Carnsight Communications, we always find those that are open to a range of publications get the most out. There are a number of reasons why it pays to be open to new media:
- The media landscape is developing all the time. Some publications wind down and other publications launch. New podcasts start and other media changes focus, for example with a change in ownership or editor. Sometimes, there’s a newly launched interview series in a publication that’s right on target. It’s our job to monitor the landscape, keep in touch with journalists and present opportunities to you. We will always give you information about a title and focus, and why it might be relevant to your business. And we always try and minimise your time – for example by drafting comments for you, or giving you some starting points.
- Just as the media evolves, so your business may evolve as we work with you, with new services launching or as you start to target new markets, for example. We need to bear that in mind as we manage media relations.
- Whereas we used to work with a lot of staff journalists, nowadays we work with a lot more freelancers. In fact, figures last year showed there are 25% fewer newsroom jobs than there were in 2008. It’s also estimated around a third of journalists are now freelance. That means the journalists we’re pitching to often work with a range of publications. Working with a journalist on one publication could lead to opportunities in another one. So, it’s worth considering that with any approaches.
- Sometimes you’re keen to talk about a theme or new topic, and that might be a focus for a particular publication you may not have considered before. For example, you might be wanting to talk about a retail event like Black Friday. This is relevant for a range of publications, so if you’re an expert in Black Friday one of those publications might want to take your views on it.
- It’s worth bearing in mind that even if you get into your target publication (The Economist, we’re looking at you), you’re unlikely to be in there more than once in a month, or even every couple of months. Although rewarding and a great achievement, one piece of coverage in isolation isn’t ever going to be as effective as a range of pieces covering your news and commentary.
- Equally, it’s particularly hard to get into a national publication with no profile or commentary elsewhere. A journalist needs to do due diligence to make sure you’re the expert we’re saying you are – if nothing comes up, it’s a much harder sell. So a range of comments in titles you might not yet know could help with this. We’ve written more about this in our post about commenting in trade and local press.
- Generally speaking, you are not your target audience. That might sound obvious, but we often hear phrases like “I don’t read that”, or “my wife never watches that”. If you do represent your target market then it’s worth considering these points. And equally, if you disagree to a title on moral or ethical grounds, let’s remove them from the list. But if you don’t, it’s also a good idea to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and consider what media they might consume, and this could mean titles or media you’ve never seen or heard of before.
- As we’ve said before, no comment is ever wasted at Carnsight. So if you take time to answer a new opportunity, your comments are likely to be used either for that opportunity or elsewhere. Just this week we placed some comments in an article in the Metro, and those not used were developed into a full commentary piece in a trade title. They can also make social media posts, blogs and comments for other features. And we’ll never use more of your time than we need to.
For more on this, we’ve also written about the importance of reading your target publications.