Increasing Your Media Quotient (MQ) - Part Two

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP - International Business Speaker

What happens when your MQ, or what I call Media Intelligence drops?

Does this fall over time or because of your actions or behaviours.

I believe poor decisions can lead to actions and behavious that decrease your MQ.

This in turn impacts on your reputation.

Think low MQ people and the names Paul Wolfowitz from the World Bank, Ben Cousins from the West Coast Eagles and Paris Hilton come to mind because of their recent actions that have eroded goodwill with their stakeholders or fans.

Understanding how the media works is vital in gaining successful coverage for your organization and raising your MQ.

What does the media want and how can you increase you chances in obtaining coverage?

Here is part two of the three part series on increasing your MQ.

Interviewer: Do sending pictures with media releases help get publicity?

Thomas Murrell: Yes, you can add them and they are useful for web releases and print but a waste of time for TV and radio. Don't show your ignorance of how electronic media works by making this blunder.

My rule of thumb is to add a line at the end of the media release for print and web that says "pictures can be provided on request".

There are exceptions of course. Take for example the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) which has both a radio and TV network and now an extensive oline news portal where they publish pictures because a visual image both in print and online can add to the impact of a story.

Of course you can also send a Video News Release (VNR) to a TV station.

While expensive compared to the cost of a traditional news release, they allow you to provide information the TV station may not have the resources to collect themselves.

An example would be a remote minesite or even computer generated graphics for a new stadium, transport development or oil and gas project.

Any element that is graphically appealing that could add value to the story.

Slick packages made to look like news with a reporter are commonly used unedited by small regional television stations that have limited budgets for news production or are understaffed.

While some stations have a policy of not using VNRs, it is good public relations practice to provide professionally shot video clips designed to be used as stock footage.

Some critics of VNRs have called the practice deceptive or a propaganda technique, particularly in cases in which the segment is not explicitly identified to the viewers as a VNR.

So it is a grey area and one to be careful of. At the end of the day you need to weigh up the costs of doing it versus the potential return on investment.

If you only have a small budget, I would avoid a VNR and just use a standard media release.

Interviewer: What other aspects are important in putting together a media release to help get it to publication/to air?

Thomas Murrell: Accuracy, timing and the quality of your distribution list. And of course you will have more success if you have a personal relationship with the journalists or editors concerned.

Sometimes having a coffee or lunch with select media can be just as successful in getting media coverage than just blasting away to a list that you have no relationship with.

Media get bombarded with hundreds of releases a day. If you can target specific sections - health, business, education with specific angles you will have more success.

Interviewer: I have heard lunch works well!

Thomas Murrell: Lunch is good - but often media are time poor. You must pay and never have any expectation that anything will come of the luncheon.

Interviewer: Can you give us any tips for leveraging your ideas?

Thomas Murrell: If one person has questions about your area of expertise, then there will be many others with the same questions.

Interviewer: Can you expand a bit more?

Thomas Murrell: Turn all these questions into titles for articles and media releases you are going to write.

For, example - with your permission, I'm going to take all the questions you've asked in this global online forum and my answers and I will turn them into at least three articles.

These articles will be pitched to health professional trade magazines, websites wanting articles and of course my own eZine, Media Motivators read by 8,000 professionals in 35 different countries.

I could then take seven of these articles and then turn them into a white paper or free eBook.

This could be given away as a downloadable PDF on a website or other online forum.

You see providing tailored content that provides answers to the questions most commonly asked by your prospects is the new currency to promote yourself as a recognised authority.

I call this the gravity effect of a strong personal brand and positioning yourself as the 'go to' person.

By attracting prospects to your business by this powerful and invisible force, you not only have more qualified leads which will increase your conversion rate to sales, but you will also have less wastage.

Traditional marketing reaches out to people through the push approach, but the gravity approach uses information to pull people to your business.

Besides being interviewed on an online forum, here are five other ways I leverage my expertise:

1. Writing articles for eZines, websites and trade magazines.
2. Turning these articles into an eBook, white paper or traditional book.
3. Interviewing other experts for an article, book or podcast.
4. Reading other books and doing a book review with key points. You learn and then leverage with others.
5. Record presentations and turn them into a product or break them up and broadcast them as a podcast or video on YouTube.

So you see I've spent an hour in this forum and yet have written three articles at the same time! So thank you for asking me to take part.

Part three of this three part article will be in the next edition of Media Motivators.

Want more skills in dealing with the media? Come to our seminar:

Tuesday, June 12th 2007, The WA Club, Perth Western Australia
Winning The Media Game Book now.