How To Craft Award-Winning Media Relations Campaigns

We are still celebrating our Bulldog Media Relations award for our work with Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores – and wanted to unveil a few of our campaign secrets.

Last summer, Jo-Ann challenged us to develop and implement a strategy to secure local market TV news coverage in key locations where Jo-Ann had brick and mortar stores.

Through targeted outreach to local morning/news entertainment shows pitching timely, seasonal “how to” crafting segments with Jo-Ann talent, we have secured more than 157 segments and 50+ million impressions!

There are three simple secrets behind this campaign: be thorough, be responsive and be helpful.

1. Be thorough.

To kick off this campaign, we had to start by building 50 media databases of TV producers in our target cities. Not only was this a huge project to tackle, but we decided not to rely heavily on our media database provider because TV news contacts tend to be outdated. Instead, using the top markets from Jo-Ann, we built custom databases ground up targeting morning show producers, assistant producers and weekend producers. This ensured we had the right contacts from the start.

2. Be responsive.

A goal we set for ourselves internally was to respond to all producer emails in 15 minutes or less. While this wasn’t always feasible, we came pretty close and multiple contacts told us how much they appreciated our quick replies.

We also sent updates to the producers while coordinating the appearances. For example, if it was taking us a few days to confirm availability of the spokesperson, we would let the producer know we were working on it and would have an answer shortly. Producers get a huge amount of cancellations, so assuring them we were not forgetting about the segment was critical.

3. Be helpful.

Having the correct contact and quick responses will only get you so far – you have to truly be helpful by providing high-quality content. By tailoring our pitches to relevant seasons and holidays – from tailgating to New Year’s Eve entertaining – we were offering unique, interesting and timely DIY/crafting segment.

In addition, all of our Jo-Ann experts received media training to ensure they would deliver the best segment possible.

After each segment concluded, we made sure to thank the producer. We strategically contacted the producers as new projects became available – but we were careful to never bombard the producers with irrelevant content.

Working to develop true relationships with these producers paid off. Producers began reaching out to us with their needs and several even set up ongoing, monthly segments with our Jo-Ann spokespersons.

Although these may seem like basic tactics, these three secrets unlocked the most important part of the campaign: building relationships.

By having the correct contact from the get-go, being responsive to every media need, providing high-quality segments and keeping in touch on a regular but relevant basis, we established the credibility and rapport with producers that is key to media relations and securing high quality results.