A few months ago, I had the opportunity to speak virtually with members of Pursuit 365 on how to get FREE media coverage for their brands. Over 300 female entrepreneurs had access to my knowledge and expertise on the inner workings of the kind of content that I have not only hosted and produced on location during my years at Breakfast Television in Vancouver, but also the kind of content and more importantly the pitches for that content that would “earn” a company or organization media coverage. Post show meetings with senior producers that would review, disect…and sometimes discard ideas that had potential to get coverage, but missed the mark.
So what happened? Well there are many reasons why we don’t “take the bait” but let me focus on just one that I would see time and time again.
The pitch would often refer to the “opportunity” to have “such and such or so and so” on BT. Unfortunately when it’s not clear how an appearance or coverage might be of benefit to the AUDIENCE, it really just becomes an “opportunity” for the guest. This is were we would often bring in the sales team because that type of coverage should generate ad dollars (commercial).
There are more official definitions of Earned vs Paid Media…but from the media production side it really comes down to this.
There is a cost to everything and so FREE media coverage isn’t actually free. So what’s the trade off? We are willing to forgo ad dollars because you become a “tune in factor” and media needs and audience. We WANT you on the show because people will watch the show because our AUDIENCE has something to gain with the content you provide. The audience can learn something, do something, get excited about something.
Media needs an audience, but we cannot exist without advertising dollars. SO…if your desired outcome is for your name or website to be mentioned a few times, to have branding for your company appear on air, to “plug” your business without offering the “news you can use” that makes for an audience experience, then you would go the paid media route. Both Earned and Paid media get you potential customers but the paid media route is more direct.
Important to note that paid media doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned about what goes to air. Softer sells resonate better than a hard sell…and regardless of how much you are spending you want to pitch content that PEOPLE WANT TO WATCH. Think about it. When you watch TV, when do you schedule the bathroom break? DURING A COMMERCIAL. So it makes sense that even your commercials (or sponsored segments or content) should be interesting and offer useful information regardless if anyone ever hires you or does business with you.
Here’s a scenario of a new Italian restaurant opening up and they want media coverage. Yes, they could pay for a commercial to let people know they are open…but they could instead or in addition start with trying to get the chef on for a segment on “how to make pasta at home without a pasta maker.”
Which idea do you think will have people watching? Do you see the opportunity for both Guest and Audience here?
If you are looking for someone to help you with that pitch, or work through your ideas…I have the inside knowledge on how to give you your best shot. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to book a free 15 minute virtual consultation to help me determine how I might help.
I am able to work virtually with anyone around the world who wants to access this specialized knowledge and insider perspective. I look forward to hearing from you.