A Great Idea for Getting News Coverage

Here’s one of the most effective ways to get noticed by local media and generate positive press coverage:  Take a reporter out to lunch.  That’s right. Simple as that. Chances are in your town, you have newspaper, radio, or TV reporters who cover the subject you’re involved in. If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, someone’s covering the religious beat. If you’re a musician, writer, or artist, some reporter is covering the culture, media, or entertainment beat. There’s business and sports sections in every local paper. Whatever you do for a living, chances are, the local news outlets are covering it. We spend endless hours complaining that we don’t get coverage for our new album, movie, ministry outreach, product launch, or whatever – when the truth is, those reporters probably don’t know you exist.

A long-time pastor friend of mine in a major city did something remarkable early in his career. When he first started preaching, he invited the religion reporter from the local paper out to lunch. At the lunch the pastor told the reporter: “I know you have to cover a lot of issues on the religion pages. That’s a big job. So if you ever need any help, just let me know and I’ll make my staff available to you for research, interviews, whatever. No charge. I’d just like to help.”

Guess what? Over the next 20 years, guess who’s been the most interviewed leader in that city when it comes to religious stories? Just by offering to help the local media, the pastor has become iconic in the local press. Whatever happens, in the religious world, they call him first for a comment. The end result has literally been millions of dollars in free advertising and press coverage for that pastor and church in the local news.

Stop complaining about lack of press coverage and take a reporter to lunch. No agenda. No strategy. Just get to know them. Find out what they’re interested in, and offer to help them should the need arise.

They’ll never write about you until they know you. And only you can make that happen.

 

 

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 at 9:54 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • http://www.dylanbredengerd.com/ Dylan Bredengerd

    Talk about a “power lunch!” I think the “no agenda” policy is crucial. I used to be in sales, and I had the best success when I actually went for a “no” not a “yes.” It’s disarmingly honest. By the way, you can tell how well that lunch is going if, by the halfway point, you’re plate is near empty, and his or her plate is near full. Why do you think that is?

    • http://twitter.com/PhilCooke Phil Cooke

      Brilliant thought Dylan. Love the plate question. If his is empty, you’re talking too much… :-)

  • Eleanor

    If the reporter works for an ethical news organization, he or she probably won’t be allowed to let you buy lunch. It’s considered a gift, and those are no-nos. The paper I worked for specifically outlined this in our ethics manual.

    • http://twitter.com/PhilCooke Phil Cooke

      Good note Eleanor, thanks. But I think the impact is in the offer. Whoever pays isn’t as important as establishing the relationship.