Last week during the Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF), I (Nancy) had the pleasure of hosting the “Filmmakers and the Press” event with Lauren Wissot of Filmmaker Magazine. It was an informal panel discussion with Steve Persall, movie/film critic with the Tampa Bay Times, Frank Robertson, GIFF Staff Reporter, Paul Guzzo, writer with the Tampa Tribune, and Lauren.
One of the recurring themes (aside from having a good story to tell) was “be available.” So many times people and brands desire media coverage but then when the opportunity arises they forget to pick up the phone!
In addition to “be available” we have a couple of suggestions that make a business brand (or expert) noteworthy for press coverage!
Be irresistible. That’s right, you sexy thing. You should make your pitches so good that they’re hard to ignore. Does this mean you’ll always get a response or get picked up? “No.” But it creates a habit and practice that whenever you pitch or come up with story angles, it’s consistent and it’s good. There are several reasons why (sometimes obvious ones) that media do not pick up a story e.g. there is no story, your pitch is terrible or it went to spam. What about when the pitch is great, you’ve got a great angle, you’ve made it irresistible and still no one picks it up? Well, sometimes it’s timing, there is no space in/on the outlet, other news is more pertinent, or they’ve covered it already. It’s like getting dressed before you leave the house. Just because you’re only going to the grocery store doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fix your hair and change out of your pajamas. You get yourself presentable. It’s just something you do, and not just because you might run into someone. When it comes to pitching, you’ll want to keep up the pretty!
Be ready. After the waiting game of media coverage or one too many rejections, sometimes people fail to stay on their A-game. Since we’re just coming off of GIFF it seems appropriate to share a movie quote. An applicable one to this situation was said by Elmont in the film, Jack The Giant Slayer (What? We didn’t say it was going to be a GIFF film or a recent movie!) The conversation goes:
Jack: What do you suppose is up there? (looking up at the enormous beanstalk)
Elmont: I never suppose. I simply prepare for everything.
That’s the attitude that everyone should take if they’re wanting to acquire media coverage: simply prepare for everything. Don’t suppose that the media will never call or respond because you’ve reached out to them so many times prior and they haven’t been responsive. Today could be your day, so be ready! Have your pics in order, your bio, talking points, etc. You don’t want to be scrambling so having this information ready to go and on hand is important. There have been times that we’ve pitched a client and two or three months have passed (since our initial pitch idea) and out of the blue – here they are ready to hear the story. So it’s important to be prepared and ready.
Be available, be irresistible, be ready = media readiness! Simple enough, right? If you want to turn up your brand’s PR and marketing efforts, increase your visibility and options, or just say “hello” – be sure to reach out to us!