Media and public relations is much like front-line sales. It requires strategy and persistent follow-through to be successful. Here is a breakdown of a media campaign to illustrate five guerrilla tactics for garnering media coverage.
Guerrilla Tactic 1: Clearly define your objectives
Cancable Inc., a technology provider, was launching an emergency computer help service, The Computer Care Association (CCA). LOOFAH Communications was approached to facilitate needed media exposure. The initial launch would take place in Kingston, Ontario, home to more than 12,000 small offices/home offices, 75 per cent of which have one or more computers. Media objectives included:
- Create awareness of CCA as the Canadian Auto Club for small office/home office computer users
- Brand CCA membership as Worry Free computing
- Achieve a higher profile with existing clients and prospective new customers.
- Recognition of Cancable as one of the largest mobile forces of computer experts in Canada with a reputation for delivering friendly, responsive onsite computer solutions
Guerrilla Tactic 2: Tell a compelling news story
No reporter or editor wants to be a vehicle for flogging your product or service. Reporters and editors want stories that are news worthy and of interest to their reading, listening, and viewing audience. A Kingston area Technology Fair was planned and scheduled making the CCA Launch story more news worthy. The theme was Technology made simple in the office of the future: Kingston Tech Fair showcases the ‘Worry-Free Computing’ Workplace. It hit the right chord with the media and Kingston area small office/home office owners.
Guerrilla Tactic 3: Target the appropriate media, then follow-up and follow-through.
Sixteen Kingston area radio, TV, newspapers and community publications were targeted to receive media kits that included background info, media release, and sample CCA membership. To maximize the likelihood of getting media coverage, we follow-uped by phone with reporters and editors. Similar to a sales call, connecting to the right reporter or editor made the difference as to whether the story would be picked up or lost in the news shuffle. In our phone calls we not only confirmed receipt of the media kits, but also presented the merits of the story and how it would appeal to their audience. The results? Several interviews with newspaper, radio, and TV were arranged with the President of Canacable Inc.
Guerrilla Tactic 4: Train your spokespeople
A well-trained spokesperson is crucial to ensuring that your key message points are received and broadcasted to your prospective audience the way you intend them to be read or heard. Coaching your spokesperson on media skills, for good news and bad, is an invaluable investment. It’s important that your spokesperson know the basics:
- Understand contemporary media
- Maximize opportunities in working with the media
- Minimize the risks in working with the media
- Control the media interviews
What kind of results can you expect?
Numerous calls to each of the Kingston media contacts helped create a receptive atmosphere and a keen interest in the Computer Care Association story. Several print, radio and television media relationships were established resulting in 4 interviews on radio and television reaching more than 90,000 people.
The Kingston Business Journal ran a two-page spread with the headline, Worry-free computing come to Kingston.
On the front page below the fold, The Kingston Whig Standard, ran the headline, Program like auto club membership for computers. with a sub-headline, If you’re suffering from a PC headache or need a computer solution to a pressing business matter, fast relief is just a phone call away.
Guerrilla Tactic 5: Reprint media coverage
Reprinting your media coverage:
- Creates excellent 3rd party credibility
- Reinforces your sales collaterals
- Adds weight to the media kit
- Facilitates increased enthusiasm in the office workplace
This guerrilla approach to media relations garnered a lot of media coverage and helped increased public awareness of the Computer Care Association in the Kingston area. Our strategy also laid the media ground-work and strategy for a series of successful public launches and membership drives across Canada for the Computer Care Association.