CONTACTING THE MEDIA: Tips to Boost Your Media Coverage
While the news that flowers relieve stress seems intuitive, the fact that it is now scientifically proven is what makes it news. The media likes stats and studies, so you have a great story to tell!
If you have contacted the media for Petal it Forward or another shop event, go back to that list of contacts! If this is your first time doing media outreach, here are some step-by-step tips:
Create A Media List
Make a list of newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, news-related websites, event calendars and blogs in your community. You may want to ask a local organization or the local Chamber of Commerce if they have a list they would share.
Once research is complete, you’ll be ready to build a press list. Find phone numbers and email addresses for reporters covering science, lifestyle, gardening. This is a story that could be of interest to a variety of reporters/pages. Be sure to include assignment editors, producers and freelance reporters to your list. If you can’t find the specific contact information online, call the “news desk” to get the answers you need.
Compile all of this information to create your media list. A well-organized spreadsheet will go a long way in keeping everything straight and make outreach easier. Be sure to check back periodically to make sure your list is up to date.
Know Who You’re Pitching
Get to know your local media outlets and the reporters. Read the papers, watch the shows, and listen to the radio stations to get a sense of the reporters’ interests and themes. Start thinking about how the news about the research will help extend the reporters’ subject matter further.
When you make your pitch, let the writer know how and where your idea might fit. Think through the idea through the reporter’s eyes — how will this piece be of interest and need to their audience? How will it meet their criteria?
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are great resources to help you get to know reporters, what they cover, and you may even get a glimpse into their personal life. Also, many reporters will respond to direct messages through Twitter faster than other avenues.
Customize a Press Release
A press release is an excellent way to get media attention before, during and after your event. The press release will house facts and important information to help reporters tell your story. Click here to find a customizable press release to help promote the stress relief research. Send out your release at any time and follow up to ask if they need any other information.
No matter how hard you work on your press release, there is always a chance that a reporter might not get to it. It pays to put in a little extra effort. One way to get reporters interested is to deliver something unexpected that supports your message.
Consider sending the release with a small arrangement of flowers to key reporters that you want to reach, with a note that mentions the research and that you wanted to see if the flowers helped to provide a moment of calm!
Once you have submitted your press release by email or special delivery, it is important to follow-up with a phone call on the same day. Leave a message if necessary and then respectfully call back the next day. When you talk to a reporter, first confirm he/she received your release and that you’ve contacted the correct person. This is your chance to briefly pitch the research as a newsworthy story.
Remember reporters are often on deadline and don’t have a lot of time to talk. Be short and easy to understand. Touch on your talking points.
When you talk to reporters, it is important to have key talking points in mind. Here are a few suggestions (but feel free to come up with your own!):
- We wanted to make sure you were aware of university research that shows that flowers relieve stress.
- While we see this every day, it is exciting to have scientific proof of the benefits of flowers in enhancing our well being.
- Life is stressful. We experience it ourselves, and see it in our customers. In fact, a survey showed that 68 percent of people report experiencing stress weekly, and 32 percent feel stress daily. That’s a lot, and it is important to find simple ways to help people cope with stress and relax.
- We would be happy to invite you into the shop to talk about colors and flowers that can provide a moment of calm. We promise a relaxing experience!
If you get a reporter to come to your business to interview you, consider providing them with bouquets with a suggestion to go out to the community and give the flowers to passersby to truly experience the “stress less” impact of flowers. Letting the reporter experience it on camera (or even just talking about it in their story), makes for a more meaningful story and message for the power of flowers!
If you do get media coverage, you have a golden opportunity to keep the story alive by amplifying it yourself. This can be done by sending the article or video footage to other media channels, sharing it on social media and using the hashtag #StressLess and tagging @About_Flowers on Instagram, @FlowerFactor on Twitter, and @AboutFlowers on Facebook. Once a media outlet covers your story, other media outlets like TV and radio news are more likely to approach you as well.