News Consumption Up, but How Do You Get the Coverage?

Pew Research issued a recent report indicating that American’s are consuming more news coverage than they have in the past decade. With the rise in ways we can consume news- from traditional outlets such as radio, TV and local newspapers to new online sources- American’s are averaging 70 minutes a day. This does not account for digital and social platforms such as accessing news from phones or getting news updates from social networks (according to The Nielsen Company, our time on social networks grew by 43 percent this past year).

While these figures are inspiring, many companies face the increasing challenge of obtaining media attention. With the move to online news, media outlets are focused on stories that will drive hits or on stirring the pot in order to spur user dialog and debate. At the same time, the economic conditions and uncertainty about online models have led to shakeouts and layoffs across the publishing landscape. This means coverage tends to tilt toward the big dogs.

To compete, small and medium sized companies have to get extra crafty when it comes to the battle for coverage. In light of today’s climate, what can a company do in the race for news coverage? Here are a few tips:

  • Create packaged stories: Because there are fewer reporters, the need for fully packaged stories is greater than ever. Before you release your news, make sure you have strong data, customer and analyst references, strong visuals and a powerful angle. Even better- intertwine a bit of tension into the story. While these have always been the rules of a good pitch, they are imperative for getting noticed now. There just isn’t time for the reporter to go back and forth to piece it all together anymore. If it’s all ready to go, you’ll increase your chances.
  • Podcasts and video: Media are crying out for multimedia content to liven up their websites. For your next announcement, issue your release with a link to a podcast or vodcast and offer these up to the media and bloggers for their sites. Media demand is high for this type of content as their readers gravitate toward audio and video as preferred formats.
  • Zero in on outlets you know will get syndicated: For smaller companies, getting widespread, standalone news stories can be a challenge. Select one to two news outlets you know will get syndicated and focus your efforts on driving coverage with these outlets. If you select the right sources, the coverage can spread like wild fire across other media sites, blogs and lead to viral sharing on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Be your own media source: Don’t forget to incorporate your own news distribution vehicles into the strategy. Your company blog, Twitter and Facebook should also be built into your plan, including teasers and day of coverage. And encourage your internal teams to share the news as well.

As a recent example, McKenzie Worldwide worked with our client Open Text this week to debut ECM Suite 2010, the company’s most significant announcement of the year. To drive maximum results, we crafted a fully packaged story which included a podcast from the CTO to frame the significance of the announcement, a vodcast to outline customer benefits, product screenshots, industry data to provide context for why the product is relevant, and a press release to wrap together the full narrative. Press are responding positively to having everything at their fingertips- from visuals and data to executive perspective and multimedia content . Check out CMSWire for a great example of how this all came together in one story.

Have a strategy or tactic that has worked particularly well for you? What challenges is your company facing in garnering media attention?


Author: Editor