Last week, we welcomed Libby Korosec, current spokeswoman and PR representative for Carter’s mixed-use development project, The Banks, as a guest blogger. This week, she shares her tips on how to gain earned media.
The Banks, Carter’s mixed-use development in Cincinnati, Ohio, has constantly been in the media spotlight, before we even broke ground on the project. Each year, the development garners millions of earned media impressions. That means that most people in the Cincinnati region are very familiar with The Banks, which is continuously referred to as the city’s premier eat, live and play environment. This has all been accomplished with a fraction of the marketing budget used by many similar developments in other cities.
Here are some tips on how to make earned media (sometimes referred to as free media) work for you and your projects:
1. Prepare. Whether you’re being proactive or reactive, always be prepared to answer any question that might be asked. Study up on your reporter. Know what they might ask and what other issues they might throw at you. Figure out how to turn negatives into positives ahead of time.
2. Be Available. You need to be there when media calls. Particularly in today’s digital age, the media operates on very short deadlines. They need your perspective quickly, or they will find someone else. If you’re always available, you could become the expert that the media turns to for projects other than your own.
3. Comment. Even if it’s a topic you don’t want to talk about, remember that if you don’t tell your story, someone else will. Don’t resort to “no comment”; studies show that using this phrase makes people think you’re hiding something. Instead, try the following response: ”I can’t tell you about that, but what I can tell you is…” and then talk all day long about what YOU want to talk about.
4. Don’t Speculate. Don’t guess when answering questions. Once in print and online, some things never go away. Make sure you have your facts straight or tell the reporter you don’t know and/or will get back with them.
5. Stay Focused. Don’t give your competition free press. Focus on your story and let your competitors speak for themselves. Don’t get off on ancillary topics. Let the reporter know that you only agreed to speak on certain topics and stick to those. Otherwise, you might end up down a rabbit hole and that you can’t get out of!
These are just some of the ways we keep the good press rolling on The Banks’ project. Good luck putting these tips into play with your own projects!