Every startup wants to make news. But how much should you expect from a corporate update, product launch or even your funding round? You want to be ambitious with your media goals but also have realistic expectations about media coverage. But how?
There are lots of ways to implement successful media programs that support corporate growth. With careful evaluation, planning, and a strong program that ladders up to a robust corporate reputation, top-tier media can take an interest in your company.
Prepare for success and set expectations among your team by reviewing these factors:
1. How does your news compare to others in your space?
In today’s more compact media landscape, there is intense competition for each journalist’s attention. Evaluate the media profile of your competitors and their track record in comparison to yours. With similar announcements, such as a product launch, how many stories were written, and why? This will provide a good baseline for the results you might expect, and potentially exceed.
2. What elements does your news story include? Consider data, spokespeople, partners, and video / photo assets.
Take an objective look at your press package, and how it stands out in the media landscape. Do data points reveal something unique, which a reporter can’t find through other resources? Is your company message grounded in objective data? Are your spokespeople able to deliver and explain your company news? Are your partners truly enthusiastic about your company? Don’t simply serve as a fan of the company when considering these elements.
Evaluate your media assets and whether additional review or preparation is required to ensure they are ready for prime time. Ensure all permissions are granted, content is ready to share, and easily accessible. Spend time doing this prior to starting your outreach to media since there won’t be time for final approvals or messaging changes once you have media interest.
3. What other stories have recently been reported, or are likely to be in the news in coming weeks?
Understand whether your news falls into a category which regularly receives coverage. Alternatively, it may be rare for your target media to write an article on the topic. Sometimes executives get attached to a particular type of article which is unlikely to be written (or covered again). This can create challenges for the team. Your PR agency can be a partner in this process. They can provide expertise about the types of articles journalists regularly write about. Your agency can also share relevant angles which may connect to recent topics in headline news.
News doesn’t happen in a vacuum so an understanding of general media topics, and even news shadows on the day will help you assess the possible reception.
4. Are you likely to add new data, partners, or spokespeople after this news is announced?
Take some time and consider the significance of your corporate update. Compare it to others in your field. If the update is modest, consider holding back this news announcement and waiting for additional factors to be added. Elements such as new data, insights or proof points, may ensure a stronger package. The improved story potential and corresponding boost to your corporate reputation will pay off. There’s always pressure to announce sooner – and with good reason in a competitive market. Balance that with how meaningful your story is today, compared with the one you can tell tomorrow. Timing is everything – the second to reach a milestone is nowhere near as interesting.
5. Are journalists who have previously written about this topic still in the same role?
Today’s shifting media landscape is challenging. Journalists work hard to keep their full-time positions in the newsroom. PR teams must keep on top of turnover, and hiring patterns. If some time goes by (even just a few weeks) between correspondence with a journalist who covers your field, check again to ensure they are still in that role. Sometimes, the journalist’s happy update, such as a promotion, changes their availability. These changes make a difference in a compact mediasphere.
Developing a successful PR campaign in 2019 offers some challenges, however, they are not insurmountable. Taking time to carefully assess the news value and potential of each corporate update is worthwhile. It’s an important first step in driving a healthy program. While it may seem like extra work or planning, taking this care will ensure a robust program that drives business results.
Maura Lafferty is an influencer relations specialist, with a particular focus on media outreach over social channels. Maura has over 14 years’ experience in public relations, and relationships with media working in national, California, and Silicon Valley newsrooms.