Advice from America’s First Media Mogul

blogpic_gabrielleEnergy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin probably was not referring specifically to media relations, though he has been called our nation’s first media mogul.  No doubt he would agree that developing media relations is a process which takes energy and persistence. We would all agree that building good relations with local journalists is key to getting your senior living community’s stories and events covered by the press.

However, many PR pros—especially news ones—don’t realize how vital approaching media relations as a process is rather than a series of single events—as in distributing a single news release. The art of placing stories with the media should be seen as a cycle, from idea to written or broadcast coverage.  Not surprisingly, it’s all about energy and persistence.

Solid media relations begin with selecting which publications and news stations cover stories like yours and then researching which reporters write and tell such stories to ensure you contact the right person. Know the outlets that reach the highest concentration of your target audiences, and then make sure you have a story worth sharing with their readers/viewers based on that industry.

Sometimes it’s about leveraging existing news to help make your news more relevant. Real-time media relations or real-time PR, sometimes referred to as “newsjacking,” is an exciting new area in media relations that involves tuning in to everything in the media world in real-time and being ready to insert your senior living community spokesperson or proactive story idea into the news cycle.  For example, relating your active seniors to national coverage on longevity. (That requires serious work and energy.)

It doesn’t stop there, however. Be ready to make those follow-up calls and send emails to get their final decision on running the story. (That requires real persistence.) For TV reporters, calling after their morning meeting is effective because that is when stories are chosen based on that day’s events.

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When reporters for publications are too busy to discuss, do not hang up without asking when the best time would be to call back. Always offer any interview, photo and video opportunities, especially for TV stations to create VOSOT. *It’s important to speak their language.

Be persistent and relevant, and make your follow-up calls and emails. Don’t be afraid to circle back with reporters and check with them regarding their final decisions.  But remember always to be pleasantly persistent taking a “no” on a story pitch just as cheerfully as a “yes” – which brings to mind another of Ben Franklin’s sage proverbs:  “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

No wonder Ben was America’s first media mogul.

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