media update’s Nakedi Phala reveals four ways in which PR practitioners can secure earned media for their work. 

There are various avenues through which to distribute your PR content, such as public announcements, placed media and advertisements via mass mediums like radio, television, newspaper, digital, social media and websites.

Here are four things to do when distributing your PR content to journalists and media houses: 

1. Read often 

Keep your ear to the ground, follow trends and stay up to date with industry developments. 

Who are the journalists that publish your type of content? Which media houses cover your industry content? Once you’ve gathered intel about who’s who and which media houses deal with your industry’s affairs, you should make it a habit to visit their channels and read their content often to understand their house style, tone and voice

No matter how good your content may be, getting it broadcasted or published can be a mission. But if you pitch your story correctly, you can win over the right journalist.

Don’t contact the journalist via social media; rather, start the relationship on a professional level by: 
  • Sending an email
  • Having a clear and precise message
  • Sending an on-topic article, as this will help you get your content published
  • Taking note of the media house’s demographics, which will help you understand their readers. 
Journalists receive tons of emails and phone calls every day. That's why it's important that you type out your email and attach all relevant documents, and remember to use a killer subject line that will attract the journalist’s attention — it’s a sales pitch, so keep your subject line short and sweet. 

If need be, before picking up your telephone, know your story and, if necessary, write down at least three points you want to get across about your PR activities to avoid the conversation swaying in a different direction. 

 2. Create a contact list 

Having a contact list especially for relevant media houses and journalists, excluded from your marketing and business contacts, makes it easy to channel a message to all the right people

Remember, journalists are persistent and disciplined, sending them incorrect information can tick them off and, as a result, your content will start receiving less attention. 

Utilising an online media directory, like Target Media Directory, can help you identify the right journalists for each of your PR clients. 

Target Media Directory includes in-depth details of publications, broadcast stations, websites and blogs in South Africa, as well as prominent media titles across Africa.

Online media databases like to take the guesswork out of building your contacts list by helping you easily identify the right journalists to reach out to with a simple search. You can pinpoint media based on industries, audiences, location, media scores and other attributes.

Target Media Directory also offers you the engagement opportunities and different markets that can be reached based on the topics covered by each publication, broadcast station, website and blog.

Utilising an online media database will help you and your team stay productive and deliver the correct information to the right people — quickly and easily. 

3. Write a compelling story angle 

You’ve done some digging, and you now know where you want your content to be published. You understand their house-style, so now you need to pack your press release or email with a message that is newsworthy.

In order to do this, you need to ask yourself:
  • Is my campaign unique?
  • What's its purpose?
  • Who will it impact?
  • If it’s an event, will it attract the right audience? 
Once you’re able to answer these questions, you’ll be able to approach a journalist with an interesting and compelling story angle that is likely to capture their attention.

Here are three steps that can help you come up with a good story angle: 
  1. Gather all the data — from newspaper clippings, broadcast clippings — to help you and your PR team brainstorm and produce great press releases and prep well for live interviews
  2. Listen and understand questions posed by stakeholders and consumers
  3. Look for story ideas in your course of daily occurrences of the company you represent 
Applying these simple tips can help you prepare well-written content before making contact with a journalist, which will help you successfully secure media coverage for your PR activities. 

4. Have good communication skills 

In order to have a good rapport with journalists, it's always a great idea to keep in contact by communicating clearly and effectively. Respond in record time with questions that the journalist has forwarded you; this will show that you respect and honour their time and effort. 

Remember, poor communication skills can sour a relationship and may affect your PR activities, making it very difficult to be trusted. Meanwhile, good communication skills can complement the rapport you have with media houses and journalists. 

You can also send a goodie bag for eatables if you feel a journalist has covered your event very well in order to keep good working relations. 

Journalists are valuable in helping you gain publicity, which is earned and not paid for. What other ways do you know of that could make it easier for a PR to get their content published?  

U lava mahungu aku hisa? Tsalela hina...

Now that you’ve learnt a few tricks about securing earned media and getting the right journalist to publish your content, read these Seven habits for success in PR.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy