NCET Biz Tips:Media relations 101: How to get media to pay attention to your company

Dana Sullivan Kilroy

Dana Sullivan Kilroy

NCET helps you explore business and technology

Getting media coverage is a great way to increase brand awareness and ultimately boost sales. It’s also helpful for building credibility. But in order to get that attention, first you must have a piece of news that’s worth sharing and then get the right journalist to pay attention.

One of the issues businesses face today is the fact that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 276,800 public relations professionals (like me) attempting to get the attention of just 47,100 journalists (like I used to be). Some rough math from the USBLS 2021 statistics tells us there are some six PR professionals for each journalist. And those journalists receive hundreds upon hundreds of pitches every week so it can be difficult to stand out, especially for smaller businesses that don’t have lots of PR knowledge or tools in their belt.

Getting media attention is not impossible, however. It just takes some initiative and some patience. Here are six tips that will help you get your company some attention.

Understand what’s newsworthy. The stories you propose must be timely, impactful, relevant or have a human-interest angle. There’s also a concept called “newsjacking” that can be very valuable for businesses. For example, let’s say your company is an eco-friendly shop whose mission is to get people to move away from single-use plastics by buying bulk lotion, dish soap, shampoo etc. instead. You might pitch a story about how easy it is for consumers to switch away from single-use products and switch to refills instead in the weeks leading up to Earth Day. That’s what happened for Replenish Refillery & Gift in Reno when the shop was featured on a KRNV story.

Follow relevant media on social media and engage with the journalists there. Journalists appreciate personalized communications that aren’t just focused on you and your business. Show them you’re paying attention to topics they cover by commenting on the stories they share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. etc. (these days most reporters do indeed share their work on social media). Then, when you do pitch a story, mention details about previous stories they’ve done to show why you believe you/you or business is worth covering.

Use services that help people and businesses connect with reporters – many are free. There are several businesses that help brands connect with journalists who are looking for sources for stories. A few to check out:

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)



Response Source


Check #JournoRequest on Twitter

Be proactive and create your own content. Do you blog? Have research to share? Write and publish op-eds? How about create data-focused infographics? All of these kinds of material, when shared on your social channels, have the potential to attract the eyes of media. It would also be wise to set up “google alerts” so you are able to keep an eye on trending articles in your business sector. That’s another way to find journalists to approach.

Don’t ignore the “trades.” Practically every business sector has a “trade magazine.” If you run a restaurant, you probably read Restaurant Technology News. If you own a logistics business, you probably read Transportation Dive. And if you own a software business, you probably read SaaS Mag. While every business owner would love to be featured in The Wall Street Journal or TechCrunch, it can be just as meaningful to be featured in a trade.

Maintain a list of media outlets and journalists you’d like to build relationships with. This is as straightforward as it sounds. Whenever you read an article, see a story on television or hear one on the radio, write down the name of the reporter and a link to the story. Having a list at the ready will help you will help you with tip #2.

The bottom line is you don’t need to have a public relations professional on your payroll in order to reach media. While it might take some time to cultivate relationships and even figure out what kinds of stories are most likely to garner attention, it’s certainly worth the time spent.

NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology.

NCET Board Member Dana Sullivan Kilroy is co-founder of Fior Partners Public Relations and Public Affairs, based in Reno.


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