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Getting Press Coverage Around the Margins for Your Utility

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The Holy Grail of media coverage is always going to be that fawning 60 Minutes profile or the cover story in The Wall Street Journal, but realistically that isn’t likely to happen.

More realistic is the favorable story in the trade publication, a front-page story in the local newspaper or a 90-second package on the local TV news. Even then, however, those are relatively rare.

So, how can you bolster the amount of press coverage you receive?

Try working around the margins.

By that, I mean submit a lot of less-important content that the media is likely to run. Granted, those photos of employees working at a food pantry that a newspaper will shoehorn into its “newsmakers” section aren’t a major hit, but public relations is a cumulative output game. That means every hit helps.

And remember that you can always repurpose media hits on your own website and social media channels.

What kind of lesser items will media outlets consider?

Personnel announcements. Although you’ll want to pitch your C-level hires for full coverage, other employees might get a mention, too, especially mid-level manager types and other supervisors. Do not pitch rank-and-file employees because if you’re touting every employee you hire, the outlet will get sick of you and not run any of them.

Major events, contests and promotions. If your employees host annual charitable events, feel free to pitch them both before and afterward — and send plenty of photos. The same is true for things where you’re a major sponsor, such as golf tournaments.

Stuff involving kids. If you host a day of school children visiting your facilities or send employees to a school event for whatever reason (career fair, general teaching, etc.), a community newspaper might be interested.

Evergreen releases. If you’re lucky, you might get an outlet to cover the annual “how to save energy in the winter” press release (and other consumer releases of that ilk) that goes out every year or even reproduce it essentially verbatim.

Another reason lesser items are worth pushing is that it’s a good way for junior staffers to get their feet wet and make contacts, while more senior employees concentrate on the Holy Grail.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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