Many companies come to us with one request, “Get us in TechCrunch!” I sometimes wonder if they’ve all hired the same consultant who has told them to ask for this. But this request raises the question more generally of how companies should gain coverage in Tier 1 media.
While every company has its own list of Tier 1 media, most companies have some target media in common, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg, and yes, TechCrunch.
Approaching Tier 1 media reminds me of the line from Casablanca when Rick Blaine is asked what Captain Renault is like, “he’s like any other man, just more so,” is Rick’s answer. The way to earn Tier 1 media coverage is the same as earning any other coverage – just more so. Here are a few tips:
1. Remember the editor’s motivation
Editors are looking for readers and will be attracted to stories that attract readers. We remind clients of this and recommend story angles we are confident will attract readers.
2. Consider the editor’s schedule
Fewer editors are producing more news than ever before. One local NBC producer told me their newsroom staff has dropped from 200 to 80 in the last five years, but they are now expected to produce 10 hours of content per day, up from eight. We focus on making our story angles easily digestible so editors can decide quickly if an angle interests them.
3. Develop a Tier 1 story
We help clients develop story angles that are new, differentiating, controversial, compelling. We tie these angles both to the messaging our clients want to communicate, as well as with previous articles editors have written.
4. Push out new ideas regularly
A typical editor produces 3-4 stories per day and receives 1,000 emails from PR people on a daily basis. Putting high-quality, well-developed ideas in front of them and offering these on a continuous basis, combined with building a reputation of only providing media with relevant angles, cause editors to respond to our outreach time and time again.
5. Back up the ideas
We identify stats, client customers/partners, outside experts and others to substantiate our story ideas – increasing the likelihood of earning editor interest. And, given that fewer editors are producing more content, providing all the resources they need improves the probability of them covering our client and accelerates the time to publication.
6. Prep our clients
In addition to the standard preparation, such as providing past articles an editor has written, we prepare our clients with stats and other insights that will help our client tell their story and achieve a successful interview.
7. Follow through
Frequently, it’s helpful to be the “squeaky wheel” and follow up with editors until coverage has occurred. When balancing multiple stories concurrently, editors often respond favorably to follow up.
Patience call also be a virtue. We often pitch media on story ideas and will hear back months later they are now ready to talk to our clients. Keeping our name and our clients’ names in front of them helps ensure they come back to us when they are ready.
These tips are general best practices for all outbound media relations, but attracting the interest of Tier 1 editors and earning that Tier 1 story requires us to be extra creative, extra resourceful and extra driven.
Combining creativity, perseverance and attention to detail help us win the day by earning consistently high-quality Tier 1 media coverage for our clients.