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Want More Media Coverage?
The secret is to start using strategic F-words.
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 by Robert Bernarduci
Jessella PR

Robert BernarduciMention the "F-word" in mixed company and you are liable to get a little more than a look. Try to get F-words covered in the media and expect a call from the FCC or the legal department at Standards and Practices. However, we consistently leverage F-words to get our clients television, radio and print coverage. It just depends on what F-word you focus on.

Before setting up a campaign for a client, our agency reviews eight F-words or what we call F factors that can help garner media coverage. While not every F factor is applicable to each client, by finding the best fit, we craft stories that are more attractive to the media. These F-Words can help a PR practitioner design the right message for the right audience, and pitch the right media at the right time.


From the media's perspective, every story has a face. It could be a celebrity, a CEO, a trusted expert, a government official, a dignitary, an author, a beneficiary, and even a victim, Even a PR rookie knows that "Who" is the first word in the 5 Ws (Who, What, Where, When and Why). Finding the right "Who" is what an agency needs to address first and foremost and what separates a good agency from a great agency. Who will tell the story? Who can we offer for the interview? Who can best address the client message points? Who will best attract the media? Before embarking on any communications campaign, first attach the right face to it.


The "first" in this sense is not based on which media outlet receives the exclusive story. Rather, it is based on how you position your client's product, service, situation etc. Positioning is a technique that creates an image or identity in the minds of a target market for our client's product, brand or organization. One of the major tenets of positioning is to be first to market thereby differentiating the company or organization, product or service, from all other competitors. The media loves firsts. The next two questions serve as an example. Who was the first man on the moon? The second? Of course, we all know that Neil Armstrong uttered the famous words " One small step." Buzz Aldrin was the second man to step on the moon. If you got Buzz right you deserve your spot on Jeopardy. However this should prove the point. The first mass-produced car -- Ford, the first light beer -- Miller, the first online auction platform -- eBay. These concepts were firsts in their own right. They created their own category and attracted media attention. Phrases like "best in breed", "revolutionary" and "next wave" mean nothing to the media. First means first. First means coverage.


Over-paying at the Pump, The Fleecing of America, Affordable Healthcare -- these headlines are very familiar to us because we see them on national, and regional affiliate news stations and in print almost every day. A smart PR agency looks to see if they can craft a story highlighting a client using "pocket book" issues. If you want to get a client on television, radio and in print determine how their product or service affects a consumer's purse strings.

Front Door

How does this pertain to me? Before even embarking on a story place yourself as the audience. Bring the story home to the front door. Localize it. Find the angle that speaks directly to the client's audience and furthermore the media's audience. Is there a local family that best represents the story? Is there a local doctor that can relay this issue? Can the information or data be delivered by state, county, town? If yes, then like a good neighbor, deliver the information with local flavor.


Unfortunately, the phrase "if it bleeds it leads" is all to often a front page reality. I am not one to purport or debate that the media is in the business of selling fear, however there does seem to be a gravitation toward it. In 2005, there were two weeks of national coverage on "When Sharks Attack" and CNN recently featured a complete day of terrorist coverage titled "Target: America" complete with ominous music intros and oversized headline fonts. Fear can play a roll as a backing soundtrack to many health, political, and socio-economic issues to name a few. The key for a PR agency is not to create the fear, but to understand the current media climate and leverage it for the benefit the client.


What would a Dear Abby column be without her response? While most people will tell you that they look to the media for information, another major reason people turn to the news is for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems -- what we call the Fix! When it comes to product launches, "new-and-improved" stories typically go from reporter's in-box to the trash bin, however, a product launch that showcases a real problem with a real solution can pique a writer's interest in the story.


The World's Biggest Bagel! Call Guinness Book of World Records and let them know we have a special event! The feat should never be the first option a PR agency offers a client. However, a special event of epic proportion can get cameras and reporters out on a slow business day. Make it visual and something a photo editor would want to drive out to see and shoot.


This F-word would be best placed closer to the top of the list. It seems self-explanatory and self-evident, however, many companies continue to send out a press release or notify the press without having all the information. Corral all the information a reporter will need and keep it within hands reach.

Robert Bernarduci recently founded Jessella PR, a national media relations boutique with offices in New York, New York and New Hartford, CT. 
For contact call (860) 888-2270 or

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