This is the Key to Attracting Media Interest
Years ago, Larry Ross was at an event in Atlanta where he struck up a conversation with an industry colleague who was the then-CNN booking producer in charge of securing guests for all the network’s shows apart from its morning show and highest-rated primetime talk show. As Larry and the producer spoke, she reinforced a principle that is a cornerstone of our Agency’s ethos.
She said, “Larry, I know you want us to cover the good things your clients are doing, but what would really be helpful to us is if they can speak into the things our network is already covering.”
The media’s job is not to promote you.
I’m sorry if we just crushed your dreams, but as great as your nonprofit, ministry, book or movie is, it does not mean media are scrambling to talk about it.
Media exists to tell the news. When choosing what to cover, outlets have only one thing in mind – what will be of interest to their audience?
Of course, a new movie hitting the theaters or a self-help book might be of interest, but if you want to increase your interview requests and media coverage, you must speak into the news.
Our team starts every day scouring newspapers and online articles and listening to radio and television shows to find out what our reporter friends are covering. From there, we look for ways to insert our clients into what the media are already discussing.
Doing this has created success in securing opportunities for our clients time and time again.
For instance, when New York Times bestselling novelist and geopolitical analyst Joel C. Rosenberg released his newest book, “The Kremlin Conspiracy,” in March 2018, we knew there was an opportunity to insert Joel into the news flow to discuss the threat of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The Kremlin Conspiracy,” which is about a fictional leader in Moscow who fashions himself a 21st century Czar, all while the American President and his team are distracted by domestic political troubles and rising tensions in North Korea and Iran, was a direct tie in to the news of spy nerve-agent poisonings, Russian election meddling and Presidents Trump’s expulsion of Russian diplomats. As a result of strategic op-eds from Joel and tireless pitching of his unique insight, we were able to secure a number of cable television interviews including a story on Fox “Special Report with Brett Baier,” which subsequently aired on “Fox & Friends” and Fox “News @ Night.”
Sometimes tying into the news means sharing your own experiences.
When pastor and author Phil Hotsenpiller was evacuated from his home during the California wildfires, he shared his first-hand account through an op-ed, which was published by FoxNews.com and garnered an interview request from “Fox & Friends Weekend.”
Remember when everyone was discussing the NFL players kneeling during the national anthem? Ed Tandy McGlasson, a former NFL player and founder of Blessing of the Father, took that opportunity to pivot the discussion to a trend affecting the NFL – fatherlessness. He wrote an op-ed from which Laura Ingraham invited him to interview on her national radio show.
Other times, this process is as simple as using holidays and remembrance days to share about the work of your ministry.
For instance, author Heather Avis shared reflections about raising her two children with Down syndrome, which was featured in TIME Motto around World Down Syndrome Day, and Devin Vanderpool with LiveBeyond wrote a beautiful piece about a little boy she met in Haiti, which FoxNews.com published in honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Effectively speaking into the news may be obvious or take a bit of creativity, but either way, ensuring your public relations strategy includes good news hooks will help make you more successful.
How can you better speak into what the news is already covering?