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Why Daily Media Goals are Crucial to DIY PR

You’ve heard it before: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

File that under: cliche but true. Actually, scratch that and re-file under truer than true.

As most entrepreneurs will tell you, amazing things take an equally amazing amount of work. Even for the most high-energy, organized people, focusing on the overwhelming list of everything that needs to happen can quickly become a huge roadblock to progress. For so many of us, the only way to make things happen without the luxury of trained team or a lot of money is to break everything down into achievable daily tasks.

And that’s as true of your media and PR strategy as it is for anything and everything else in your business. On PressDope, we call these achievable daily tasks something slightly more specific: daily media outreach goals.

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Try to launch a new brand, product, service or feature without building a strong foundation for your media outreach first, and the time and effort you’re most definitely going to put into contacting members of the media will not only yield little meaningful coverage, but they’re likely to seem like a complete, demoralizing waste. After all, media outreach is a hard process, and many journalists are hard-wired not to respond or reply unless they’re really, really interested in hearing more.

If you instead choose small achievable daily media outreach goals to push your media strategy and relationships with the press forward little by little and one day at a time, you will find yourself in an infinitely better situation when you have big news to share.

You Will Need a Strong Foundation Before Doing Any Effective Media Outreach

Want to know what’s typical? In so many cases that I have seen over the years, here’s how it plays out: a hard-working, creative entrepreneur has a promising piece of news to share (a startup launch, a new store or a newly expanded product line) and spends months and months getting everything that needs to happen for this promising piece of news to become a reality.

She works hard, damn hard. And then it’s finally ready. And she needs to get it out into the world. So she and her team set about launching this promising piece of news into the increasingly noisy, shockingly crowded media landscape in hopes of landing media coverage, getting more attention and, ultimately everyone hopes, more sales.

A Last-Minute PR Strategy is Often a Failed PR Strategy

But here’s the problem: they don’t have any solid media relationships to lean on. So they throw $5-$10K at a PR firm and hope for the best or start frantically aiming to DIY their own PR.

Usually with DIY PR efforts, there’s no media list. Or it’s really, really outdated. Meaning half the people on it have moved to other jobs or stopped writing to pursue teaching or are on maternity leave or are now busy curating content for some other brand’s Instagram feed. And that’s because the last time this founder or brand reached out was months – or even years – ago. So after painstakingly updating the media list (a task that can easily take hours upon hours), the launch is now even further behind. The whole team is getting antsy. This news has to get out into the world. There’s no time or wiggle room to hold the overall business back by delaying the PR launch.

So someone (maybe the founder, maybe a contracted PR professional, maybe an agency hired at the last minute) drafts up some messaging, maybe generates a press release or media alert or digital invitation if the news warrants that and starts blasting it out to media contacts.

Taking Daily Action Can Change Everything

Here’s the thing: the media need a reason to open your email. You need to make them want to pay attention to you. It’s not an easy thing to do at the last-minute. In fact, it’s a pretty hard thing to do no matter how much time you have before your launch if you only send one communication.

While members of the media are constantly looking for new people, places and products to write about, they are trained to be skeptical and are inundated with poorly targeted, poorly crafted pitches and emails. Most of them have a pretty sizable wall up and a bullshit meter set to all systems alert.

But they’re human (well, most of them, anyway). And they have this thing about being curious. And they love ideas and stories and knowing about things that other people will want to read before those people can read them anywhere else. So if your promising piece of news is packaged up with a story attached, and you can get that nice little bundle of information over to a journalist or writer who cares about covering that very kind of information, you can often (but not always) get that media person’s attention – if (and here’s a major if) you’ve already given them a reason to be interested enough in you to open your email, read what you’ve sent and respond.

Hands-down the easiest way to do this is to have already established a relationship. Even a little one. One you’ve ideally started months before by being visible, participating in things that journalists pay attention to, following those journalists and their work and trying to understand the ways you might be able to bring value to their coverage areas.

That’s a barrage of suggestions, and it’s a lot to do. And it’s not always intuitive or one-size-fits-all. But what is clear is that most entrepreneurs will need a significant amount of time to build this kind of foundation. And that can seem overwhelming at first, but what’s actually quite comforting is this: you can start by just choosing one achievable media outreach goal a day and making progress. Do this for one month or 60 days, and you will be amazed at the progress you will make.

You will also be amazed that you ever thought about putting the time and effort into a last-minute launch around your company’s latest news.

The Benefits of Daily Achievable Media Goals

Even with 30 days of choosing and keeping daily achievable media goals, you will find that you have:

  • Up-to-date media contacts to interact with when you do have big news
  • Knowledge of new publications to pitch
  • Social media interactions with journalists and influencers that will be helpful
  • A media kit or lookbook at the ready
  • A clear understanding of why you’re seeking press coverage and how that aligns with your current business goals

Your results will of course vary depending on which daily media goals you achieve. We’ll cover how to set effective goals below.

Creating Your Own Achievable Daily Media Goals

Sure, fine, you’re thinking, now what? When you’re ready to start creating your own daily media goals, it makes sense to start with a bigger picture so you understand what you’re trying to achieve and can then break that down into smaller parts and, finally, into little daily tasks.

If you’re struggling to break bigger projects like developing and implementing a media strategy down into smaller parts, I highly recommend reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done and understanding the principles behind George T. Doran’s SMART goal setting methodology.

Once you’ve defined your larger media goals and broken them down into smaller parts, and from there into daily tasks, you will end up with a list of seemingly small things that will make a significant impact over time.

For example, your daily goal might be sharing a story or blog post written by a member of the media on your media target list via Twitter and tagging a friend or colleague that you think would benefit from reading the story. Another goal might simply be to add a new blog, digital magazine or podcast to your media target list (you can save the actual contact information gathering for a weekly task). If you’re a PressDope member, you might elect to ask a media pro a strategy question that’s been on your mind or scan the FESTConnect Network for posts from other brands who are looking for collaborators to help with cross-marketing and cross-promotions. You might choose a networking event to attend later in the month. What your daily tasks will be are going to differ depending on your brand and your current business and media outreach goals, and they will no doubt change over time.

Once you’ve created your list, check it daily, pick one item and get to work.

Want a shortcut to building your list of achievable daily media goals? Grab a month’s worth of daily tasks I recommend based on my years in the media. Get the download:

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