Many businesses have given up on traditional print media and are focusing all their efforts on social media to get their messages across. Whilst I am a big advocate for the power of social media, at this point in time, traditional print media should not be forgotten. Instead, you can use all the hard work you are putting into social media to increase your likelihood of getting column inches. Perhaps even the front page of the biggest newspaper in your region. That is what I achieved on behalf of two of my clients. Read on to find out how…
Two of my clients (Australian Leisure Facilities Association and Point Cook Action Group) are currently lobbying Government on various issues specific to their associations, with some crossover in relation to the issue of insufficient community leisure facilities being built to support developing communities within growth corridors. As I am both passionate and educated in regards to these issues, I have been quite happily assisting both to bring these issues to the forefront using social media. I have achieved this by blogging and encouraging others to blog on these issues (on the blogs of both of these organisations) sharing the various press relating to these issues (via both organisations social media channels) and generating communities within both of these organisations that are passionate about these issues. Here are a couple of the blogs:
- Are The Aquatics/Leisure Strategies Of Our Local Councils Heading In The Wrong Direction?
- A Resident’s Views On The Proposed Provision For Leisure In The PCW PSP
Whilst a lot of the work that I do is anonymous, behind the face of these organisations, without intention I have managed to build quite a profile on these issues and have become the “go to” resource as a result. Here are a few examples of the many print media and television exposure I have generated for these organisations as a result of this work:
- Point Cook Has A Voice – AU Zone (Wyndham, Hobsons Bay) March 2012 (see image opposite for details)
- 5800 More People, Still No Facilities – The Age, 9 February 2012
- Pool Knock-Back – Werribee, Hoppers Crossing, Point Cook Star, 2 November 2011
- Point Cook Pool: Residents Vow To Press On – Point Cook Weekly & Wyndham Weekly, 26 October 2011 (link no longer available)
- Point Cook Group To Lobby For Key Services – Point Cook Weekly & Wyndham Weekly, 14 September 2011 (link no longer available)
- Tarneit Pool Gets Lukewarm Response – Point Cook Weekly & Wyndham Weekly, 31 August 2011 (link no longer available)
However, the most noteworthy exposure to date occurred on the 15 of March 2012 when I quite unexpectedly found a picture of my three children and I taking up most of the front cover and just as much space on page 15 of Melbourne’s biggest newspaper, The Age. Unexpected because the photo had been taken two weeks previously and I was advised at the time that it would be featured in the The Age the following week. When that didn’t occur I assumed that the story had been dropped. However, instead someone within this Fairfax publication thought it was worthy of front page and perhaps they were just waiting for a slow news day to give this issue the kind of coverage that I and the committed communities of the Australian Leisure Facilities Association and the Point Cook Action Group felt it deserved.
It is amazing the doors that front page exposure can give you. My phone, email and Facebook were out of control with messages for a good couple of days after the article was published. Two weeks on and I am still getting people coming up to me to tell me they saw me in the paper. This article has opened doors for both organisations I am working with and I have used the article to generate even more on-line exposure by writing a post on for Are Poorly Designed Suburbs Creating An Epidemic Of Chronic Diseases That Will Cost The Health System Millions? on the Australian Leisure Facilities Association and of course this post. The campaign continues…
Tips For Getting In Print
So this is my advice if you want to make it to the front page of the biggest print media publication in your region:
- Have a decent issue, cause, product or service that is worth informing others about. If you don’t have this, then you might make it to the papers, but the front cover is unlikely (unless it is for all the wrong reasons).
- Make it known via your website/blog that you, your Association and/or business are either passionate, knowledgable or have a unique angle to share regarding this.
- Share these messages via social media and generate a community that supports your efforts. This will not only provide social proof, but increase your reach through their comments and sharing.
- Develop regular Press Releases and accept opportunities for publicity even if they may seem too small to generate a return on your investment of time initially. You may be surprised who reads them and what opportunities may come as a result.
- Be persistent. Comment on all press related to your issue, cause, product or service via social media. An example of this is responding in the comments section of relevant on-line versions of press media and sharing this content via Facebook, providing you opinions and soliciting the opinions on your community.
- Keep this up and journalists will start to take notice and follow you. You will soon become the “go to” resource, with people calling you in regards to the information you are posting on your social networks rather than you doing all the chasing.
- Hope for a little bit of right place, right time. At some point your issue, cause, product or service will be relevant to the most important news story of the day (or worthy enough on a slow news day) to be included on the cover and you will get the call.
- If you do manage to get maximum exposure in print, don’t stop there. Use this to generate more exposure both on and off-line.
Don’t believe me? The rather unattractive picture of me and my kids on the front page of The Age is evidence that this can happen. You can read the on-line version of the articles below:
Obviously everyone won’t make it to the front page of the biggest print media publication in their region, but if you follow the above advice you may just make the papers. Whilst many people are saying that social media will be the death of the papers, The Age, for example, is still receiving a weekday readership somewhere in the vicinity of 648,000. This is far greater than the readership of most businesses websites, blogs or social media channels and has the potential to expose your business to a whole new audience, so this form of communication should not be ignored.
Has this happened to you? Please share your story and any tips you have for getting your issue, cause, product or service in the paper via the comment below.