Media coverage helps businesses spread brand awareness and get the exposure they need. Business owners could do the work themselves or hire a well-connected publicist. No one needs a publicist, but publicists who are willing to build relationships with the media take a load off business owners and increase the likelihood of getting much-desired coverage. Research is essential with either approach.

Businesses need to contact the media outlets that will get them the coverage they need. Bloggers can also write up a good story, though coverage won’t be as widespread. A comprehensive list of media outlets might take some time to create but save time whenever a story needs covering. Make no mistake: there should be a story.

Businesses that compile research about their industry or do philanthropic or unique work spark interest. Experts also grab attention. Media pitches must be delivered to the right people through easy-to-read emails, using bullet points when applicable. They could suggest their story for a regularly featured spot or offer an exclusive interview. However, they should offer the same to other media outlets and refrain from bragging about other media outlets’ coverage.

Businesses can form connections at community events, special events hosted by the company, and through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Companies can reach out to journalists who write product reviews and send them a demo product to review; however, be aware that personal gifts are off-limits. Media personnel shouldn’t feel obligated to do a story because they received an expensive gift, and most media outlets have rules prohibiting the acceptance of such gifts.

Media personnel have jobs to do. Those who waste their time get pushed to the bottom of the list (and possibly onto their blacklist). Those seeking media coverage shouldn’t be pushy, annoying, or exaggerative. Press releases should be complete, and all information about the business should be easy to access. A resource center is ideal, one with the logo, product images, headshots of key business executives, and key facts about the business.

Interviewees should be easy to contact and remain a resource beyond the interview. They should always use clear and inclusive language about their industry, so no one feels excluded. It’s also good to acknowledge the media outlet that covered the story, so they know they made an impact.