Movidius recently achieved great editorial coverage for its mobile 3D technology in Wired, the UK-based gadget magazine. This is the latest in a long string of strong, on message media coverage we’ve had since we started engaging with the press back in 2008.
Ireland is a hotbed for innovative business. But great ideas do not automatically lead to great coverage. You really have to work at it. Our good friends at Enterprise Ireland asked us if we’d mind outlining a few tips, based on our own experience, to help other Irish companies achieve high end media coverage. We’ve boiled it down to our top ten tips:
1) If you can, employ a PR agency
If budget allows, we’d recommend enlisting a specialist PR company. The quality varies, so make sure you shop around, see a few people, and take recommendations.
There are numerous advantages working with a good PR agency. A credible, established PR agency will have traction with a wide range of publications and will boast excellent media contacts. While the PR agency help build up your relationships with key media, you’ll have more free time to concentrate on your core business.
2) Define what you want to say and keep saying it
Consistent messaging is key and it’s important for everyone in the company to sing from the same hymn sheet. Messages will change over time and should be reviewed regularly to ensure they reflect where you are as a business. Consistent delivery of these messages in all interactions with the media will ensure that over time your key points filter through.
3) Make your offering tangible
Think of your audience when you speak to a publication. While a gadget magazine is interested in the ‘what’s new and cool’ factor, a national newspaper cater for the man on the street so give them something the man on the street can relate to. Spend money on prototyping an end-form-factor-product for any media briefings, or set up an interactive demo.
It is incredibly important, particularly for the national press, that your product or service has a strong visual element. Production of good concept images to illustrate your product or service, at a few hundred euros a pop, should pay you back in increased coverage.
Even the biggest national papers have websites that are crying out for novel, non-textual content. Good videos, flash animations or games that carry your branding can be made for anything from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds.
4) Respect the journalist
Speaking to journalists is not rocket science. Journalists are people too.
Take the time to understand the focus of a target publication, the journalist’s brief and their personal areas of interest. Bear in mind that journalists are one of the most time-starved groups of people you are ever likely to meet. If they don’t have the time, back off. Introduce yourself succinctly and with content that’s relevant to their interests quickly and with civility. An initial email introduction or an invitation to meet face-to-face is a great way to kick start your relationships with the media.
Promoting a product too directly can be off-putting. Focus on the angle and rely on the journalist accrediting you.
By the way, Wired-level publications rarely accept pre-written articles. Make sure you offer key media an interview and flatter them by offering a high-level executive as your spokesperson.
5) Use the news to reinforce your position
If what you do relates to a topic in the news, use it.
If you produce 3D, and a 3D film has just tanked publicly, talk about why. If you produce engineering solutions and something has been designed badly, offer your expert opinion. If somebody criticises your industry area, defend it.
Before you speak to any journalist take a look at the most recent pieces they’ve written as well as researching current news topics you could possibly reference.
6) Think of new, interesting and unusual angles
Think about how you could pitch your story to make sure you’re using every available opportunity to offer unique commentary and insight. If you are the only company offering a particular service or product that puts you ahead of competitors don’t be afraid to shout about it.
Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and offer your side of the story if you disagree with the general consensus but don’t make comments you can’t back up. Be creative without stretching the truth and damaging your credibility
7) Be a thought-leader
Seek to define the way the industry is going and explain certain concepts to the wider world. This will help to position you as a company that really knows what it is talking about, and win the respect of journalists. This kind of non-direct promotional material is more likely to be of interest to the journalist’s readers, and therefore more likely to get published.
8) Think about where your customers are
National press in your home country is always something to be proud of but don’t be afraid to look wider. In Movidius’s case, we’re proud to be an Irish success story but are target customers are spaced out across Europe, Asia and North America.
If you need to achieve media coverage abroad you should consider working with a PR company with international reach and a proven track record in your key markets.
9) Use every channel.
There’s more to gaining coverage than sending press releases and arranging interviews. Use social media like Twitter or LinkedIn to contact national journalists. Social media offers great insight into a journalist’s personal preferences and bugbears and shows that you care about more than just achieving media coverage.
Last but not least:
10) Be patient
Strong media relationships and reams of media coverage doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll need to continually knock at a journalist’s door with topical and interesting news. Regularly issuing interesting press releases with genuine news and updates will ensure you are top of mind with the media. Email first and then follow up with a call and where possible, try to be flexible. Offer telephone briefings, a chat over a coffee or a visit to their offices to show them your product or discuss your service.
It helps if your product is interesting, of course. And even if it is, it’s important to realise that you might only get one bit of coverage from several meetings with a national publication, especially when you’re first starting off.
Patience is key but in the end, perseverance pays off.