GUEST BLOG: 10 steps to getting your voice heard using media relations and social media
There has been a revolution in communications allowing you, the individual to speak direct to the media, organisations and governments of your choosing.
How do you do this?
First, it depends who you want to speak to. Spend some time defining your target audiences and how you want to reach them. Second, what do you want to say to them? What are you key messages?
For most companies achieving media coverage is an ongoing objective. The third party endorsement of an editorial piece will always be worth its weight in gold.
Know your media. Research the names of journalists: the columnists, the regular sections and cherry pick your target with an informed email or phone call offering the perfect insight / piece of news / opinion for that particular section.
Always wheel out the head honcho and make it easy for journalists to speak / meet with him or her.
Building relationships - journalists are writing features and news stories every day and their contact book needs to be full of people that they can call up at short notice approach (Nb. If your MD is willing to give their mobile number out to a trusted journalist the more they will be used to give an industry quote).
Don't be afraid of journalists - journalists in general are not looking to trip you or your company up or to paint you in a bad light, in fact a good one will want to pick your brain on the state of affairs in the world of retail, technology, leisure, etc.
Turn the tables - ask a journalist what they want to hear from you and how you can help them in their day to day job. You will be surprised at how receptive they are to this straightforward approach.
Press releases - while they haven't quite had their day, journalists email inboxes are stuffed full of press releases so to make sure you stand out you might be better advised to write a short, crisp email / letter to a targeted journalist.
Offer an 'exclusive' - journalists will be more inclined to use your story if they know that every other Tom, Dick or Harry hasn't already. Then in a perfect world, fire out the press release when you have secured that fabulous feature excusive.
Social media - use it. The new web is all about interaction and companies are ignoring this at their peril. Get a facebook page and post your latest offers, news etc - invite your database of customers to join to get exclusive deals. Do a friends' deal - encourage them to forward it onto their own friends and so on.
Twitter - you don't have to tweet about what you had for breakfast, you can use Twitter to make connections, speak to people you would otherwise have no way of contacting, share industry information and learn. Use other applications like TweetDesk to keep an eye on who is talking about you or your industry. I also know some journalists who will only reply to PRs if they 'tweet' them.
Blogs - tell the world what you want them to know. Position yourself / your company as the 'expert' with a blog on your site. Not only will this help your SEO (search engine optimisation with google searches) but it will also enhance your standing as a voice of authority for consumers, journalists and industry peers.
To reiterate all the points above, get out there and get your voice heard or someone else will.
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