The UnNoticed Entrepreneur

If you are failing to get media coverage, try these 3 content types.

November 02, 2021 Jim James
The UnNoticed Entrepreneur
If you are failing to get media coverage, try these 3 content types.
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Show Notes Transcript

There's a difference between a contributed-by-line article, a case study, and an interview. It sounds obvious but many entrepreneurs miss out on editorial opportunities because they don't know the difference and so don't approach the media with 3 completely different kinds of content. In just 11 minutes I'll explain the difference and how you can use them for different purposes, and this applies to print, tv, radio and podcasts. 

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What is the difference between a byline article? An interview and a case study. Now the reason I think this is important is that if you are working with an agency or working to go directly to a media, You should really know that these are not all the same thing. And yet we just had some conversations. Today with some potential clients in China they were just confused about the difference between these three things. So I want you to clear up for you. Some of the technicalities of public relations because they're not all the same and they all create different opportunities. And if you are working with an agency or you're reaching out to the media directly, It's worth you knowing the difference. Let's just start then with the overall objective of media relations of course, is to share. Your story to share the story of your company. Your products. Your customers. With whichever stakeholders are of interest to you. And that could be your existing members of staff, potential members of staff. It could be your partners. It could also be. Prospective and existing customers. So let's just look at what the media are looking for. If there's a journalist looking for a story at that, let's face it. That is their job to do. They're going to be looking for. A story. Or an article that is going to impact at least half, if not, two thirds of their viewership, readership, listenership. If it's less than that. Then the time they take to put your article or your. Audio interview into their publication is not going to give them enough ROI because there's not going to be enough readers, not enough traffic, not enough. Advertising dollars to repay that content. So first of all, bear in mind. The magazine, the podcast, the TV show, the radio show. They're all in this for business. In China. The journalists and the media specifically, will be asking you for money to run your story, unless it's a really good story. As far as they're concerned, they're doing your work for you. So they will charge you for access to their audience. Seems fair enough. Really? And. The. Next group then are those journalists that are looking for good stories and want to try and find different ways of doing that. So let's just dive into these three different. Types of content that you can work with a media on. One byline article two, interview three case study. Now the byline article just means it's written by somebody knows that. Have your name. Or the spokesperson's name on it is really a thought leadership piece. So as an agency, will pitch a byline article. For a client to explain. Their view or their position on something topical, whether it's, for example, The client's view on COP 26 or on climate change or the client's view on black lives matter or the client's view on sustainability or on energy crisis impacting manufacturing in China. The byline article is really for the company and the spokesperson to address an industry issue. It's not to talk about their own company. But to give a perspective on an issue that's affecting the broader industry. Many media will actually have a daily, weekly, monthly. Bylined article. Where they'll invite somebody to come and write that piece for them. Nine times out of 10, the byline article is written by the PR firm. And the journalist and the editor will review it to make sure that it fits in line with the editorial standards at the publication. But the whole point about a bylined article is for the media they get quality content from an industry leader. That shows that they have connections in the industry. And they're giving their readership direct access. To that person. Second the interview. Now the interview is what most people think of as PR when the journalist sits down with the spokesperson and they have a conversation and that's exactly what it's supposed to be is a conversation. Therefore, The journalist would ask questions. And the respondent will get their replies and it may or not be about a specific industry trend. It could be about, for example, a new product launch. Something technical could be something legal. But the point is that there is a discussion. Taking place. Now. That means that the interview rarely comes out quite as the company or the spokesperson intends it to do. Often the journalist will ask questions that the person wasn't expecting to get. And sometimes. Quite often. In fact, the spokesperson will not give the right kind of answers when it comes to what the PR firm may have prepped them for. So in an interview. The real goal. Is to build some engagement between the journalist and the spokesperson. And to build some sense of personality and empathy between the readers and the person being interviewed. It's as much a personality test as it is. For example, a policy test. So you often find, for example, You know, CEO's being interviewed and you'll see even, a change in the stock price depending on how they, how they've done. It will be according to both what they've said, but also how they've said it, how they've conducted themselves. And this is why live interviews are so nerve wracking for people, because of course you can get. On to, for example, TV or the radio. And there's no way back. The key to a good media interview is preparation. Understanding your key messages. And understanding. Your body language, understanding your diction. And practicing your proof points. Now, when we coach someone for a media interview, will have what we call a message home, which is a triangle box. On top of three columns. And in the triangle we will have the key message of the company. And in the three columns below other supporting messages. And those three supporting messages will each have proof points? So we will reduce all the conversations and all the topics that the company can talk about into this one sheet. Message home. It reduces the stress immensely for the spokesperson. And it helps the journalist as well, because what they want is a structured response to their structured questions so that the audience. Has a positive experience. The third thing then that I've mentioned. Or the third element are the case studies. Case studies. by and large where a company is. Showing how they've impacted, for example, a customer. So it's really about. Somebody other than the company. And we use case studies really as kind of social proof. We want to illustrate. To the readership or the viewership or listenership. That the solutions that this company has. Uh, already working and they're working for other companies or other people. Or other societies. Like the listener. Case studies are the most sought after of the three. Content types here because everybody knows that the readers really love case studies. Most of all. The bylined article is considered to be a piece that a person writes and it's their thoughts. And it's. Really a monologue. The interview of course is a dialogue. But it's by larger set piece. The case study. will appeal to the person who's looking for solutions. That have. The ones that they are also. The problems they are trying to solve. So a case study will be maybe 500 to a thousand words. Now it can be a video. It should include the problem. That was to be solved. The obstacles. That that company was facing. In solving those problems. How they found the solution and how they implemented the solution. And the obstacles that they've faced whilst they were managing the implementation. And then the outcome. Everybody loves good case studies, especially if supported by good images. And by quotes, for example, from those people that were impacted by the installation, for example of new software. So we were talking to this Chinese, company about their work in America and they said, well, they just want to do interviews. And they want to do and interview every month and they're not interested in bylined articles or in case studies. In fact, they. Weren't really aware of what those other two items are. Now the problem of course with just trying to have. Interviews is that these days there are just not enough media. Now in China, there are quite a lot of journalists and frankly, journalists get paid, depending on the nature of the interview to attend. But in the west and Europe and America, this is definitely not the case. If you suggest a monetary payment, the journalist will reject your overtures. So there just aren't enough journalists. To interview. Everybody that wants to be interviewed. Secondly. The media won't run an interview. With the same company. Every month. They will always need to give. Breathing space between one interview and the next could be six months, 12 months, even, even longer than that, depending on the media. So we have to be realistic about how frequently the media will run our story. And that's because they have to be balanced. They can't appear to have a favorite vendor supplier. And from a commercial point of view. The publisher doesn't want to give one company too much air time because they want everybody else in the industry to have equal air time. And actually what happens of course, is those companies then compete for the air time or the, the page or the podcast audience. With those other competitors. And of course that makes for more compelling reading, listening, watching. Commercially, of course that's where the magazines, broadcasters, publishers. Ask you to advertise. Either on their website or to buy, mailings list subscriptions from them. Or to attend an event or to sponsor a speaking opportunity. So the media are a business it's important to remember that. And the media. Have different ways of accepting. Your information. A bylined article is great. They love that 800 words to a thousand with your picture. Addressing something topical. That's going to. Be relevant to about two thirds of their audience. An interview where they engage with you and get a better understanding of who you are and build that personality. And a case study. Which shows how, what you do impacts the people that are their listeners Watchers. listeners watches and readers. The PR firm that you work with or the consultancy. Should guide you. In which of these three tools? To use. And when, and with which media. Some media prefer case studies. Some prefer interviews some like byline articles. Some have a difference of opinion, depending on the season. Before trade shows. For example, people love to have interviews because everyone's getting ready to go to a trade show. So they want to build the personalities around the event. As with all these things what's important. Is that you use a balance in your communications? And that you follow our idea of this active communications index. And that is that you have your content times your channels, times your consistency. There is no point in going to the media with one article. And then nothing for three to six months. Or one interview and then nothing for three to six months. The key to successful communications into brand-building. And a reputation is to do the work consistently month in, month out. In the same way that you would in a social setting or any other relationship? The bylined article the interview and the case study. just three. Different formats in which you can address either the media, be it print, be it radio. Or TV or podcasts now. To get your content across. So if you're struggling thinking about, well, how can I get my message across. What information do you have? That could be. Formatted into a case study. Is there a topic that you think you could write on? It could be a bylined article showing thought leadership. Or would you want to have an interview because there's an event and you need to explain that to the listeners. All of these are possible. But you do need to go out and find out from the media in advance, what they're interested in and what their readership are interested in. Seek first to understand what they're interested in and then share what you can bring to their readership. And that will be the most successful way. Of getting yourself some great coverage over time. Thanks for listening to this episode, a little bit of a. More detailed technical. talk about the different elements that go into public relations. And I haven't even talked about press releases, for example, or press briefings. Just because these three items. The interview, the byline article and the case study are really what we call long form content. And they're often. Not even understood. And certainly not always used to full effect. So I hope this has been useful. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the unnoticed entrepreneur. And if I can help you. Just drop me a line, Jim, at EASTWEST and more than happy to help you with your needs on getting your company noticed.