In a 24-hour news cycle where multiple issues regularly compete for media attention, capturing the interest of mainstream media is becoming harder than ever. If your issue is unrelated to current events, pitching reporters or producers to cover that item may be futile. As of this writing, the issues dominating headlines are wildfires in Northern California, Harvey Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual assault, escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea, and the Trump-Russia investigation.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until The Wall Street Journal or another outlet comes calling to promote your campaign or the groundbreaking work you’re spearheading. Here are four different ways you can create and publish your own media.
Your website is the ultimate hub for content. Everything you write, record or produce should live on your website. Since you create the rules for what appears on the site and the positioning of the articles on it, you are ultimately in control of your content, which is what all of us crave. Further, one of the best ways to improve traffic and interest to your site is to have a steady stream of new, vibrant content. Publishing on your own site ensures this is possible. While your website is home to your creative musings, it can get a signal-boost and radiate to third-party platforms, such Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, HuffPost, Instagram, etc. In turn, these digital outposts extend your reach and drive eyeballs back to your main website content hub to deepen user engagement with your content.
Social Media Platforms
With Facebook’s Facebook Live feature, you can broadcast an event, speech or ceremony using only a smartphone and a tripod. Even if you plan a press conference and not a single member of the media attends, using Facebook Live is a surefire way to deliver your message to both the media and your target audience. Best of all, once the event is broadcast, the recording is always available, meaning you can share it in a post-event press release or email to your contact list. This is a fantastic way to communicate directly with your supporters as well as with the media that you’d like to cover your work. In addition to Facebook Live, LinkedIn Pulse, Medium and the contributor platform on Huffington Post all allow users to publish content with the click of a mouse. These platforms take the control away from publications and place it squarely in your hands.
Virtually every newspaper, magazine or online outlet has a section for opposing or guest viewpoints. Known as op-eds, most publications welcome the written perspectives of community leaders, entrepreneurs and other newsmakers. While there is limited space for lengthy pieces, a well-written opinion essay that is between 500-750 words and connected to current events may be of interest to local or national publications. The trick is to submit your essay as quickly as possible, within hours of breaking news. The beauty of opinion essays is that they present unvarnished views of an issue, and you have the option of sharing them with everyone who reads the publication where they’re published. Moreover, opinion essays that are published online are evergreen. Once you have the link for the essays, you can and should share them with supporters, investors, other media outlets and persons you’d like to influence. You should also cross-post the published content on your website.
Visuals such as videos and photographs can convey information far more pointedly than written words. There are also some platforms that lend themselves to social imagery, such as Instagram and websites. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the latest equipment. Most smartphones can capture beautiful images and short videos. And depending on how you’d like to use the photos, consider hiring a photographer or videographer to help produce content. For print purposes or mail solicitations, you’ll need to have the highest-resolution photos possible. And if you’d like to submit your video for TV consideration or use it in a longer video project, hire a videographer to help you record and produce the content.
The bottom line with these tools is that you don’t have to be at the whims of mainstream media; you alone control how aggressive you want to be in marketing your content. Use the tools at your disposal – your website, social media platforms, opinion essays and visuals – to tell your story and promote your cause, products or services.