You Had a News Conference and Nobody Came

Capturing the Media’s Attention Takes Planning

By Tiffany Soileau, Account Executive

You have been planning your news conference for months. You are excited about telling your story to the market.  The press kits are ready, the agenda is set and speeches are written. It is show time and you are nervous … will any media show up?

In the broadcast news business, getting your story on the assignment editor’s board is how you get coverage. And now, with TV stations partnering with their local newspapers and radio stations, your story can gain traction if you know how to create interest. And, even more importantly, make it relevant to your community – which requires going beyond just who, what, where, why and how.

Make Your Headline Stand Out

Perhaps your event is to unveil a new product or service. When the news team is in their 9 a.m. meeting and planning its assignments for the day, why should they pick your event to cover? Remember, you are competing with other companies, organizations and community events for very limited time during a newscast. In an average newscast, only about 13 minutes is dedicated to report local, state, national and world news.

Make sure your headline demands attention! It is the first thing an editor or reporter will read. And if it doesn’t make them want to read the next sentence; then chances are you won’t get the coverage you desire.

Make Your Story Relevant

How does your story matter or relate to your audience as a whole? As oil and gas marketers you can’t assume that the audience will be familiar with the lingo. It is important to make “TV people” understand why your message is compelling to their broader audience.

Your story may focus on:

  • Strong economic growth for a local business which is good for the local economy;
  • A new product has created new jobs; or
  • A new service has caught the attention of potential global partners and now an international spotlight is shining on the local community.

Whatever it may be, make it relevant to a broad viewing audience.

Invite Dignitaries

Always invite local dignitaries (or state or national depending upon its importance) to a media event to lend credibility to your story. Introduce them or invite them to speak if appropriate. Their positive words about the successes and caliber of your company opens doors for future coverage. They also like to be on camera. Let’s face it, good stories are a positive for everyone and public figures relish these opportunities. Additionally, local news teams can often get multiple stories out of one event if they know the mayor, senator, congressperson or local Chamber president will be in attendance. Now you have made your event well worth their time and effort to attend and cover it.

Make Them Want More

Give them something to follow up on in the coming months. Keep your story alive and give them some suggestions for follow-up stories. Perhaps your product or service will soon be launched. Can they be on site to get action shots of the new product in use? If not, make sure you send them video. If your focus was creating new jobs, let them interview some of your new employees a few months into the job.

Additionally, here are a few more tips to get your story covered:

  • Have a backup plan in case of bad weather if it’s outside.
  • Make sure your press kits contain all of the information needed to tell your story. It may be that a reporter can’t make it so a camera person is sent to get footage.
  • Make sure your event is worth their time so they will feel good about attending the next one.

Trying to engage the media can be tricky; however, considering these tips to get your event on the assignment board for coverage is a huge step in the right direction. Once you are ready, the only thing left to do is hope that a “breaking story” doesn’t manage to ruin your media coverage. If a late-breaking news story derails your media coverage plans, all is not lost. Offer to have someone go to the studio for a taped interview that could run another day.

Are you getting the maximum media attention for your efforts? If not, let Foster Marketing help.