Photo Credit: Minnesota Grown

Making the Most of Media Opportunities to Share Your Story

While the plan­ner in me loves a thought­ful­ly craft­ed earned media cam­paign, with orga­nized plan­ning and plen­ty of time to pre­pare, in real­i­ty, we don’t always have the lux­u­ry of time to dili­gent­ly get all our ducks in a row. Some­times, to max­i­mize an oppor­tu­ni­ty, all this strate­giz­ing needs to be con­densed into a short peri­od to take advan­tage of a time­ly event, news or trend. But when this hap­pens there’s cer­tain­ly a sat­is­fy­ing feel­ing (not to men­tion adren­a­line rush).

In Novem­ber, we worked with our client Min­neso­ta Grown to share the sto­ry about a Min­neso­ta Grown Christ­mas tree farm that had the hon­or of pro­vid­ing trees and wreaths to the Vice President’s res­i­dence in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. While Hap­py Land Tree Farms earned this dis­tinc­tion in August at the Nation­al Christ­mas Tree and Wreath Con­test, the logis­tics came togeth­er just days before the hon­or­able tree need­ed to be cut down.

With an inflex­i­ble dead­line to get the tree on the road to D.C. and a pas­sion for shar­ing this unique sto­ry about the first Min­neso­ta tree to earn this dis­tinc­tion, we got to work. In around 48 hours, we craft­ed and dis­trib­uted a media advi­so­ry invit­ing jour­nal­ists to attend the tree cut­ting event, arranged ear­ly morn­ing live shots and coor­di­nat­ed sev­er­al inter­views. The day of the event, we sup­port­ed Min­neso­ta Grown’s on-loca­tion staffer and field­ed media requests through­out the day. Our efforts result­ed in more than 20 place­ments includ­ing WCCO-TV, KARE 11, KSTP, FOX 9, Star Tri­bune, WCCO-AM and more.

While a sto­ry like this doesn’t come around every day, there are ways to cap­i­tal­ize on oppor­tu­ni­ties when they do arise. Here are some best prac­tices for max­i­miz­ing efforts and results for short-turn campaigns.

  • Think like a jour­nal­ist. Is this a first? A mile­stone? An anniver­sary? What is the news angle? And why does this sto­ry mat­ter now? Be sure to answer these ques­tions in your ini­tial out­reach to pique jour­nal­ists’ interest.
  • Pri­or­i­tize effi­cien­cy. Espe­cial­ly when time is of the essence, eval­u­ate when you need to wait to have all the details ironed out, and when you need to just hit send. Hav­ing the what, when, where and why answered often is enough for a jour­nal­ist to know if they’re inter­est­ed or not, so don’t fret if you don’t have every last thing but­toned up just yet. You can always pin down the spokes­peo­ple, on-site con­tacts and more as the con­ver­sa­tions con­tin­ue. But with­out get­ting the word out first, there will be no con­ver­sa­tions to be had.
  • Cap­ture visu­al assets. The real­i­ty is that not every­one who wants to cov­er your sto­ry will be able to ded­i­cate resources to cap­ture con­tent, and for many medi­ums, visu­als are a make-or-break for run­ning cov­er­age. Make a plan for who will be on-site and what you want them to cap­ture, along with how it will quick­ly get dis­trib­uted to media. We worked with an amaz­ing Min­neso­ta Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture staffer who cap­tured pho­tos and videos at the cut­ting of the tree. He then sent us the footage so we could dis­trib­ute it to media in time for their dead­lines. From a shot list to con­sis­tent com­mu­ni­ca­tion to speedy dis­tri­b­u­tion, this sequence of events was a cru­cial part of our media rela­tions, and sub­mit­ted visu­als were used in sev­er­al stories.
  • When oppor­tu­ni­ty knocks – answer. While it may feel chaot­ic at times, don’t run away from the chaos. Lean into it and make the most of each oppor­tu­ni­ty to share your unique story.



Pho­to Cred­it: Min­neso­ta Grown

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