PR Fish Bowl

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Tuesday Tips: Managing The Media Exclusive

In the public relations world, getting an exclusive is often a key part of a team’s overall strategy of securing the best coverage. But it is often a delicate dance between outlets, clients and agency and must be handled with a certain finesse. The definition of “exclusive” has even grown murky (see CNBC’s restrictive booking policy. It prohibits guests from appearing on rival networks like Bloomberg or Fox Business Network once they agree to a CNBC spot, even if that appearance is AFTER CNBC).

Managing the process of securing an exclusive has never been more important. Here are a few tips to consider when trying to nail down exclusive coverage.

How’s my news? Just because you have news to offer doesn’t mean it will get covered (let alone exclusive coverage), so pegging your news to a meaningful hook is key. Launches, acquisitions and funding are all newsworthy hooks, so be sure to do your homework to settle on the most compelling angle.

Which outlet is right for me? Everybody wants The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and, honestly, it’s hard to go wrong with those outlets. In most cases, though, your exclusives won’t be big enough for those pubs. That’s why it’s important to know which outlets, beyond the big guys, would be considered exclusive “wins” for your client. By steering your efforts towards the best pertinent, targeted, outlets, you will not only stay top of mind for current customers, but for new ones as well.

The Approach Your pitch is often only as good as the media list you target. Selecting the wrong media contact or approaching them in a way they dislike (“no phone calls ever”, “no emails only Twitter” ) can mean the difference between exclusive glory and bitter defeat. Pitch only reporters that make sense to your brand, know their preferred M.O., and be sure to speak off the record beforehand.

Sealing the Deal Once you have settled on which media outlet will break your exclusive, be sure to establish any key differentiators – features and data that ensure that your client is presented in the manner you want. And don’t be afraid to have honest discussions with your contact to best manage the expectations of your client.

Have any other great tips for handling the ebbs-and-flows of the exclusive process? Leave them in the comments section below.

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