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Follow Up on Media Coverage Your Utility Receives

image credit: ID 121448573 © Artur Szczybylo |
Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
  • 1,003 items added with 507,351 views
  • Mar 22, 2021

Landing media coverage can often be a slog, so it’s a natural tendency to revel in any good hits you receive.

Savoring positive coverage is fine, but also think about additional coverage in terms of a follow-up story.

The media generally pays attention to what’s happening at the moment and tends to forget about stories that need revisiting.

When it comes to power outage coverage, the media is pretty good about following up – it likes the “horse race” aspect of detailing how many homes remain without power each day after a weather event.

But for other things, it’s not nearly as good.

Say the media does a piece on the efforts your utility is making in terms of vegetation management one year. Perhaps you can pitch a before/after kind of story, showing multiple examples of how improved the situation is around your lines and equipment.

Or maybe your utility is developing new techniques to reduce the number of power outages, or reduce the length of those that still occur. Maybe a follow-up story demonstrating that the program worked would interest the media outlet.

Perhaps a new CEO comes in making bold statements regarding energy efficiency, green energy or some other improvement. Assuming he/she accomplishes those goals, push for an update.

Regarding each example, there’s no guarantee the media will be interested, but there’s no harm in asking and you have an established reference point you can use

To improve your odds of a follow-up, make the journalist’s job as easy as you can.

Provide extensive amounts of facts and data, high-resolution jpeg photos (or quality video) of key people and subjects – and makes those sources accessible.

To further bolster your odds of a second media hit, timing is critical. Because what you’re pitching isn’t new news, so to speak, you’ll want to choose your spots.

Avoid the holiday, when a skeleton staff is working. And don’t pitch during busy news periods you’re your ideal will get lost in a wash of breaking news. Instead, try slow times like the summer or if there’s a time when you have a thematic tie-in. For example, if you get a vegetation management story early in the summer, the end of growing season in early fall would be a natural time for a follow-up.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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