Media Webinar: Five Key Steps for BPMs to Boost Media Coverage

If you attended our recent Construct Knowledge Series Webinar "The Changing Face of Media Relations", you know there was an abundance of great advice and insight revealed to us by some of the top editors and publishers in the building and construction industry. And if you're familiar with the CKS, you know we typically record and send DVDs or post video or audio of the event online to share the information with those who could not attend live.
Due to some unexpected PC vs. MAC compatibility issues, we are not able to share video presentation of this latest event with the industry. YouTube will just have to wait until our next Webinar. The good news is, not only do you have the recap from Jody below, we have a transcript of the conversation, an executive summary and now this post!
In going through the transcript to write the executive summary, I realized how many great tips were divulged on communicating with the media in our industry. I have pulled from the transcript, the top five takeaways for our Blog readers out there who either missed the event or for those whose notes were illegible because you were trying so hard to write down every insight. Now, these are not ranked in any particular order of importance - and some may be basic but sound fundamental skills provide the foundation for growth and success.
1) Dive in, yes but look before you leap
This sounds really simple, but before contacting an editor/publisher, do your homework. Understanding the publication and its audience may be pretty basic but is often overlooked. To use an example from one of our panelists, “I had somebody ask me when the Green issue of GreenSource Magazine was.” Knowing which story types and topics are featured and who reads the magazine will help ensure you’re developing the best approach to pitch your story.

2) You can’t be articulate with your foot in your mouth
Know industry basics before attempting to speak about them. As Senior Editor from ED+C, Michelle Hucal lamented, “products cannot (and will never) be LEED certified.” You will discredit yourself and the company you represent by a lack of core industry knowledge such as LEED. I’m not suggesting PR departments hustle out to get the new LEED Green Associate designations but it’s important to have that basis of knowledge so you can intelligently speak the industry language.
(Side note: LEED is never plural unless you’re talking about a city in England – this is a sure way to alienate yourself with a potential specifier!)

3) A picture…A thousand words. A hi-res image with your press release…Priceless.
(To be read in your best Mastercard voice) Always include a photo with your press release. Whether its embedded, attached or linked, publications and their readers want to see quality images of projects. Not just photos of products – they want to see the product in action – in its application. And who did it. Where it was. How much it cost. Include as much information as possible about the project and the teams involved in creating it. Their readers and your company's customers want to know these things, so save a step by including these details upfront.

4) The transition from analog to digital isn’t just about cable TV
The vast majority of editors and publishers prefer email communications just like you. Email is more accessible and is much easier to share with a colleague than a package. When print samples and media kits are necessary, make sure it’s something your recipient hasn’t already seen. Two is not always better than one – editors don’t like duplicates! Finally, when sending flash drives, include a description of what it is.

5) Aint no party like verification from a third-party
Product specifiers can be apprehensive about claims made by BPMs. Ned Cramer, Editor-in-Chief of Architect Magazine cited that in a recent study conducted, "only 5% of architects trust claims made by BPMs." This painfully illustrates how important takeaway #2 is. I wonder how many architects out of the 95% who said they don’t trust manufacturer claims had a company rep tell them “our products are the only LEEDS certified on the market” ?
This is where data from an independent research company (Function: can do this for you) or a seal of approval from one of the many new product certification companies can help. If you stand behind your products, back up your claims with research. It will help improve the credibility of your products and brands. And, if it’s a compelling enough piece of data, you’ll generate interest among the media and they might just cover that story about your new product launch.

If you're interested in learning more about what else was discussed in the Webinar, email me: ted@functionatl.com.

-ted


ted hettick

business development manager
FUNCTION:
we’re into building things

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