getting good media coverage by implementing a buddy system Computer screen showing the daily news

Getting good media coverage is tough. Try the buddy system for more coverage

Want to be in the news? Try the buddy system for more media coverage.

Good media coverage is a great way to get your organization’s story heard. It can help raise awareness and preference for your brand’s solutions and services.

But in today’s world, media coverage seems more and more difficult to get. Just like in all of our organizations, reporters are also being asked to do more with less. And there are hundreds of thousands of companies competing for coverage.

In fact, media coverage can be difficult to get even when you have amazing news. If you’re willing to put in a little time each month, here’s one strategy that can help: the buddy system.

Your executives are busy. So are reporters and analysts. But relationships with the media matter. Building a strong relationship over time can help your organization, because when a reporter or analyst knows and trusts you, she or he may rely on you more as a source of information. And that helps you get the media coverage you desire.

How do make that happen? Implement a buddy system, where you pair trained spokespersons with relevant reporters.

How does the buddy system work?

To ensure the buddy system works best, assign each of your spokespersons only one media buddy.

The system works best when the buddy is not a member of Communications, PR, or Marketing. Why? Because reporters prefer direct access to subject matter experts.

Once you’ve decided to implement a buddy system to get more media coverage, follow these 3 tips to help you succeed:

  1. Take the time to match people well
  2. Map out a long-term program
  3. Check-in with your buddies regularly

Take the time to match the right spokespeople with the right reporters and analysts

Put some thought into your assignments. Only assign spokespeople that have a high likelihood of adhering to the program—otherwise, it won’t work.

Also, think about personalities on both sides. For the best chance of getting better media coverage, you want to assign spokespeople to reporters and analysts they will have something in common with and a good chance of building a good relationship.

Map out a long-term program for media coverage success

The buddy program is not a quick fix for media coverage. It’s a long-term strategy to build relationships over time.

Once you’ve matched spokespersons with your targeted list of reporters, you still need to arm your spokespeople with guidance and information to make the buddy program a success:

  • Create and deliver a profile of each reporter to their respective spokesperson. Provide as much information as you can, as that can help your spokespersons bond over schools, sports teams, cities, etc.
  • Develop a list of topics appropriate for each spokesperson and reporter.
  • Stay on top of articles written by each reporter, and send them to your spokespersons. If appropriate, suggest your spokesperson respond or offer to be a source for a follow-up story.
  • Provide each spokesperson with something thoughtful to send to their buddy at least once a month. This information should not always be about your company. It should be something relevant to the reporter. This will help build trust over time.
  • If safe and possible, it’s also a good idea to set up lunch or coffee for your spokespeople to meet with their buddies at least once a year to further solidify the relationship.
Two businesswomen having coffee
Building relationships with reporters can help you get more media coverage.

Set up regular check-ins

Unfortunately, buddy programs don’t run themselves. Once you’ve set up your program and obtained buy-in from your spokespeople, you still need to be involved. Check-in with your spokespeople at least once a month, and set up quarterly meetings to review the program and adjust where necessary.

You may find you need to take a different approach with some reporters, or that some buddies aren’t matched well. Take the time to make changes and review those results in the next check-in meeting.

Over time, you’ll find reporters may call their buddies directly to ask for quotes for an article, their opinion on something, or even for an article on your organization.

Getting good media coverage is tough. Implementing a buddy system is a good long-term tactic for increasing your coverage. While it takes a little time and patience, the payoff is often worth it.

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