How to get media coverage for your sport

fitness-1348867_1920For some sports, the problem is too much media coverage. If the appointment of your head coach involves the paparazzi, go and read something else.

But for most other sports, the problem is getting enough people interested in what you’re doing.

The truth is that to regularly appear in the media in a way that suits you, you need to put in work. The days when a press release emailed to 200 journalists did a job are long gone – if it ever worked for you.

So here are nine tips on how to get media coverage that suits you.

1) Be clear about your aims. I covered this in my last blog about what to do when your sport wins an Olympic medal, but it’s true here too. Think about what your organisation is trying to achieve. Is it promotion of a particular initiative? Is it attracting a new sponsor? Is it getting the attention of a particular demographic?

2)  Once you’ve done that, think about the people you want to reach with that project or objective. Is it politicians, women aged between 65 and 80, general practitioners, members of the public in Wolverhampton? Now use that knowledge to work out how to target them. Yes, a feature on Loose Women might be one way. But what other ways are there to reach them? Do your research but don’t be limited to traditional media. Are there bloggers, vloggers, podcasters who can help?

3) Now you’ve identified your target media, spend a bit of time familiarising yourself with what opportunities there are with them. Is there a columnist on that newspaper who is likely to be interested in what you have to say? Is there a regular space in that magazine for contributors like you? Is there an opportunity for you to provide a podcast guest?

4) At the same time, think about your assets. What is going on in your organisation which might fit the bill for your target media? This could be a particularly interesting participant; an event which has a unique component which will appeal to the writer/broadcaster; a dynamic staff member; an elite athlete with a particular outside interest; some academic research you have conducted; a poll etc.

5) Draft a pitch to your target. Bear in mind that they are likely to be busy – like you. So be pithy. Be interesting. Whether you email or call, get to the heart of your story quickly – no beating around the bush with intros or lots of background. Write or speak as if you had 30 seconds to describe the story to a friend. People have different tolerances to detail, depending on their personality type, but err on the side of brevity. You can always provide more detail when they ask for it.

6) Manage your expectations. If media relations was easy, everyone would be in the media all the time. But even if your story doesn’t get picked up this time, you are at least starting a conversation. It could be that the journalist ignores your email today but calls you in a month to speak about something related now you’re in their inbox.

7) But even if you don’t get an email back, follow up. Try calling and asking if they’ve seen your email. You might get short shrift but don’t let that get you down – some humans aren’t as well-mannered as you. But you might also just remind them of that interesting email they didn’t respond to when it arrived because they were on a deadline.

8) Be prepared to work some more. Make it as easy as possible for the person you want to engage. Be flexible if they want to speak to you at a specific time. Make sure you deliver on any promises – for example, supplying photos or video. Be prepared to go the extra mile to provide a case study or a quote.

9) Never count your chickens. There’s lots that can happen between getting an agreement and getting in print/on air. So don’t be disappointed if a yes turns into a no. Dust yourself down and go again.

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