Tell Your Story


At the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute convention last week, I gave a talk on how to get news and articles related to your company published. What is called “earned media coverage” is content produced by someone other than the media outlet’s staff that they want to publish for their audience.

Sorry for all the jargon her—what used to be a magazine or newspaper is now a media outlet with print, a web site, an online newsletter (like this one), a YouTube channel, and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)—or some combination. The audience on all those outlets used to just be its readers. Publishing isn’t just printing anymore, it’s all of the above. And what was articles is now content, which can include video, infographics, blogs, podcasts, and plain old words. The media world can be confusing these days.

I heard an interesting story recently on the power of earned media coverage. Joe Biden had a big day on Super Tuesday partly on the strength of the earned media coverage he got following his win in the South Carolina primary. Michael Bloomberg spent half a billion dollars on advertising, but it couldn’t overcome the coverage Biden got for free. That’s powerful content and something every business should learn to take advantage of.

So how do you get you get this free coverage? First, it’s not exactly free. You will have to spend some time creating engaging content, deciding which publications you are targeting, learning about that publication’s audience and focus, and cultivating a relationship with the editor. That last part’s critical. Although media outlets today have very slim staffs and need good (free) content, their editors are completely overwhelmed with email and are going to dump 95% of it. The best way to get their attention, is if they know you and trust you, so develop a relationship with the primary media people in your market and your chances of getting free coverage go way up.

Here are a few additional tips:

  • When you send content attached to an email send it as a Word document—don’t expect the editor to dig it out of a pdf or go to a web site to get it.
  • Make the email message compelling—why should the editor be interested?
  • Provide high quality images—if they are too big to email, send a sample and provide a download link. 
  • Always make sure the content is accurate and provides compelling information and insightful quotes from experts. 
  • Finally, follow up by phone. We’re all busy and if I didn’t respond to your email it may just be because I was overwhelmed or traveling.

Send me some good stuff any time. If you follow these tips, I may just publish it!