“Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.”
Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India
Create a PR file. When you get an idea for a good Media campaign write it down or cut it out and put it in this file. Make a habit of reviewing this file once a month at a specific time (such as the 1st or 2nd). Use this file to create press releases, contests, events and more.
Host a contest. Host an essay contest around a major holiday such as Secretaries Day, Bosses Day or Grandparents Day. Send the winner’s picture to the media along with the winning entry. Jones the Florist in Cincinnati, Ohio did that and the local paper ran a picture of the winner with one of Jones the Florists arrangements.
Get edgy. Create an event – like Get out of the Doghouse Day – host a contest, create a line of arrangements, send out media releases, interview customers. Eden Florist has done this for 5 years running and we are in the local paper every year, we have been on local and national radio programs and the New Jersey Intelligencer ran a full page article about the day. See GET OUT OF THE DOGHOUSE DAY for my press release announcing the results of a survey we did to promote the holiday.
Reward local heroes. Find people in your community doing good deeds and send them flowers or a plant. Word travels fast and not only could you be making someone’s day, you might get some great free press from this one simple act.
Write About what You know. IF you are a florist, write about flowers for your local paper. Check out the garden section, find the editorial calendar and submit your ideas and tips to the editor. If it’s good, you will get published.
When wooing the media, sometimes the hardest thing for most people is to get their foot in the door. Here are a couple of tips to get you started:
Tip One: When you first start pitching yourself to radio and TV stations find the small ones, start on the little radio stations, the cable channels, the ones with a smaller audience and more air time to spare. This is an excellent way to practice AND you can add the audio/video to your site and this starts adding to your credibility! Having the experience with the smaller stations, gives you the confidence and experience to go after the major players in media.
Tip Two: When calling the radio or TV stations, if you don’t get through to the person you are after (you get their voicemail) leave your 15-second commercial. If structured properly, the media will call YOU back.
Do Your Research
Listen to the programs Make sure the programs you are pitching are targeting the right audience. Get to know the on-air personality in advance. Don’t waste your time or the time of the person you are pitching.
The audience should match your goals. Find the programs that match your audience and pitch them. The person you are pitching will know you have done your homework and will be more likely to want to bring you on the show.
Make it easy to get invited to the show
Show producers have only so much time. They receive hundreds (if not thousands) of pitches a week. Once you have done your research you can make it easier to get invited by offering to (or sending them) questions in advance. Have your bio and photo ready so they don’t have to ask for it. In fact, have 3 different bios, a short one (under 50 words) a medium bio (about 100 words) and your long bio. This way they can choose which one to use. You could go a step further and have a bio (the long one) and an introduction (not a bio but more of a lead in to the interview)
Be ready with resources
Send links to samples of past shows you have been on (fi available). This helps the producer determine if you are a good fit, if you can hold your own, and if their audience will care about your message. If you wrote a book, offer to send the book ahead of the program. Today so many people send these, that the producer may not require this. If the show is in person, bring a copy (or several) to give out. If not, ask if they would like a copy and send either a pdf version or the actual book. In some cases you can send the producer a link to get the book online (make sure you have a way to let them get it for free such as a coupon).