If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or stressed out about reaching out to the media, then this week’s guest article by Tammy Lynn at Spotlight PR Company is for you.
Learn her three tips to help you gain the media momentum you need to take your career to the next level.
With Awards season currently in full swing, the entertainment industry is a busy bunch… and so is the media.
Reporters are delivering the latest about our favorite films, actors, directors, TV shows, singers, writers, producers and so on, while audiences anxiously await each detail. Practically every news source from glossy magazines to TV programs to Twitter are bursting with updates about the entertainment industry.
So, why aren’t you getting in on this PR action?
Reaching out to the media can feel like a daunting task. Some of you don’t trust you’re ready, aren’t sure what to share or even know how to go about gaining coverage.
Any of this sounding familiar?
If so, then allow me to help take some of the mystery out of the media.
What I’ve noticed from working with hundreds of actors over the years is that you simply don’t realize you can get coverage. Learning how to utilize the media to grab attention is important at every level of your career.
I believe it’s never too early to start creating a PR plan and build a strategy to gain exposure for you and your projects. Whether you choose to hire someone to help or you do it yourself, learning how to approach the media is crucial to your long-term PR success.
Not sure where to start? No problem.
Here’s three key areas to understand when working with the media.
Do Your Homework.
Before reaching out to a reporter, ask yourself, “What’s interesting about my story?” Don’t let your story idea get passed over by a weak or boring pitch. Make sure to state the ‘who, what, when and where’ in the beginning, but most importantly, be sure to answer why their readers will care about your story.
Also, try adapting your pitch to different media outlets, offering a unique angle that is in-tune with their particular audience.
Get to know the media outlets and more specifically the individual reporters you want to target. A reporter will be more open to hearing from you if your idea is relevant to their beat.
Search online and take note on exactly who covers the TV show you’re appearing in, the film festivals your indie will screen at or the theater scene in your town. Start following your favorite reporters on Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms, so you can understand exactly how your story will fit into their repertoire.
Trust me, they’ll appreciate that you understand their needs.
Make It Easy.
When you’re sending out a press release, make sure you’re also available for an interview if a reporter shows interest. If you’re working on-set and aren’t sure that you’ll be able to pick a specific time to chat with a reporter, consider waiting until you have a free afternoon.
Keep in mind that if you cancel an interview, rescheduling is not always easy or even an option depending on a reporter’s deadline, which could result in them bypassing your story altogether.
It’s smart to have additional materials ready to go before sending a press release. Offer up further details – photos, bios, footage or other types of background materials – that will support your story. The less work a reporter has to do in order to cover it, the more they will value your opportunity and be open to your story ideas in the future.
Following Up is Key.
Don’t be afraid to make a few calls. Reporters get tons of story ideas sent to them each week, so following up with a quick phone call can make the difference between getting coverage and going unnoticed.
Before making that call, it helps to write down 3-4 things you want to say in order to keep your pitch clear and to the point.
Don’t feel the need to make something up or ramble on just for the sake of filling dead air. Simply state your idea and ask if it’s something they have interest in covering. Keep in mind that reporters have deadlines, so if they’re too busy to chat, ask them when you can call back.
Also, it’s a good idea to start your outreach by sending a press release first. This gives a reporter the opportunity to evaluate your idea when they have the time and without any pressure.
And, unless your pitch relates to an urgent news story, you should wait a day after sending your release to place a follow-up call. This allows time for them to read, evaluate and possibly even respond back via email.
There’s no need to be overwhelmed or stressed out about reaching out to the media. Learning to embrace the press and understanding how to approach them can help you gain the momentum you need to take your career to the next level.
I’d love to hear how you’re planning to boost your media momentum in the comments below.
Tammy Lynn is the Founder and Head Publicist of Spotlight PR Company, a boutique public relations firm that offers ‘a-la-carte’ services to entertainment professionals. She has built a solid track record for results, working with hundreds of actors, filmmakers, musicians, comedians and other creative types to craft their public image, develop name recognition and build overall buzz.
In addition to her more than 15 years public relations experience, Tammy has taught classes, written articles and participated in marketing panels for numerous entertainment organizations, including Screen Actors Guild, to help educate creative professionals about PR.
For more info about Tammy Lynn and Spotlight PR Company’s services, please visit www.SpotlightPRCompany.com.