March 18, 2014

How to Engage with the Media

Getting regular coverage in the media (the right kind of coverage) plays a powerful role in raising the profile of your brand. So how do you go about it?

There are two options:
·         Hire a public relations expert or firm to do it for you
·         Do your own PR.
If you’re in a position to hire a consultant that’s great, but if not, here are some tips on how you engage with the media.

But first…..

Before you start the process of dealing with the media, this article presumes that you have already worked out the following:

·         What your objectives are in engaging with the media i.e. what does success look like for you?
·         Who your customer is i.e. that you have defined what Islandbridge calls your ‘Bullseye Customer’;
·         What your target messages are – what you want to say to the media – and through them to your customers?

Who are your Target Media?

How do you establish who your target media are?  In a nutshell, it’s the media that your customers – current and potential - are consuming.

So ask yourself and ask them:

·         Where and how do they get their news? Print, broadcast or online – one, some or all of these?
·         What newspapers, consumer and/or magazines do your customers read?
·         Which radio shows and radio stations do they listen to?
·         Which TV shows do they enjoy?
·         Which websites do they regularly visit?
·         With which social media do they engage?
·         Whose blogs are they reading?
·         Who do they follow on LinkedIn?
Once you’ve answered these questions, draw up your own media contacts list – here’s how you do that:

·         Buy the newspapers, consumer and trade magazines that your customers read and look at them in a different way – note who is writing on the topics that are relevant to your customers and to your business;
·         Listen to the relevant radio shows – you don’t have to listen live, you can listen back via podcasts etc and note how they structure their shows e.g. the radio business shows cover business news, what it says in the papers, do interviews with entrepreneurs etc – listening to these shows helps you see where the opportunities are.
·         It’s the same advice for TV magazine shows such as ireland am, Morning Edition, Late Lunch Live and Today – watch them back on the Player and note the different segments in each show;
·         If your customers are active on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – engage with them there;
·         Once you have your list of key journalists drawn up, follow them on Twitter and comment on their posts.  Some journalists look for contributors to a story they are doing via Twitter so make sure you’re in the mix!

What do I say?

The most important thing to remember is that journalists are only interested in something that is newsworthy – for example, while you may be investing in building a huge, state-of-the-art warehouse, don’t go on about the construction details, focus instead on the number of jobs the company’s expansion will create, the new markets it will open up for you and so on.

In one of my recent blogs, I drew up a list of 10 Tips on how to write a press release – take a look: How To Write A Press Release

Email or Phone?

It’s up to you. Personally, I prefer email first, then a follow-up phone call.  For the phone call, prepare your ‘elevator pitch’ in advance – focus on the news part of your story - and keep it short!

Watch what time you phone – don’t call the news desk of radio stations at five minutes to the hour when they’re finalising their hourly news bulletin – wait til ten or fifteen minutes past!

Useful Sites for Media Information:

If you want to know which newspapers and radio stations cover your county or the counties where your customers are based, if you need to find out the circulation and readership of national and regional media and information on radio, TV, print, outdoor, cinema and online advertising – it’s all available on  It’s a really helpful website that’s free to use – just register your name and email address and you’re in!

Another very useful site is – which has fantastic, up-to-the-minute databases of national and regional media including specialist media.  Whereas is geared towards advertisers, this one give you the editorial contacts i.e. the names and contact details for journalists nationwide.  It’s a paid-for service but well worth it if you are going to be in regular contact with the media. You can distribute your press releases via the site and/or post them as social media releases.

If you have any queries on anything in this piece, please email

No comments: