Photo: Dr Lawrence Yun with National Association of Realtors on media tour in Wisconsin
Posted by Brian Knox, Zeppos & Associates, Inc.
While social media channels continue to provide new and effective ways to communicate with reporters, there is one public relations tactic that I hope will always remain on the table. I’m talking about a well-planned local media tour, one that offers reporters face-to-face contact with a client. Whether meeting at a reporter’s desk, in a coffee shop, or between meetings – the bottom line for a successful media tour is to plan for brief 15-minute stops with the goal of communicating one important and relevant news angle. Reporters will expect to walk away with a “local” story and your visit should provide them with one. If your client is a national spokesperson, look for a relevant, local hook. Reporters in Wisconsin are not likely to care much about statistics or trends that focus on New York or Florida. Why is your topic or product of specific interest to the people in your state, region and community? Without any local angle, don’t expect the reporter to help you out or show much interest.
Maximizing the timing of a local media tour is also critical. One recent tour we arranged had our client being interviewed live on public radio at 6 a.m., at breakfast with the state’s largest daily at 7:15 a.m., talking with another newspaper at 7:40 a.m., making a speech at 8 a.m. and then heading to two business newspapers for interviews at 9:30 a.m. We filled travel time in the car with pre-scheduled radio and online interviews via cell phone. Box lunches were delivered to our vehicle on a street corner, so we could continue the pace with additional media stops in the afternoon. The client called it a whirlwind and was amazed at how much media interest was generated in one market. He commended our firm for its efforts, which ultimately gained a local PRSA award of excellence. Not every situation warrants a local media tour, but if strategically planned and implemented, it can be an effective and efficient way to gain a great deal of media attention for your client and topic in a short amount of time.