Just in time for OT Month, I wanted to share a resource I came across featuring tips to propel occupational therapy into the media.

 

“109 Ways to Make Your Business Irresistible to the Media” (copyblogger.com) was written by Patrick Garmoe, a social media strategist for a Minnesota digital marketing agency who spent 10 years as a journalist. While the list is intended for entrepreneurs to broadcast their brand, a parallel can be drawn to occupational therapy.

 

As a newspaper managing editor turned media relations manager, the list made sense to me from both sides of the fence. And much like a business, you can look to these tips as guidelines for your own promotions – especially during OT Month.

 

The list outlines the importance of building relationships with reporters in advance of pitching your idea, making a smooth transition to the pitch once the relationship is established, ideas to ponder before pitching, creating and delivering “reporter bait,” how to become a favorite source for reporters, and a few techniques to avoid.

 

Here are a few highlights:

1.     Do not wait until you need something from a reporter to “meet” them. Use social media and the Internet to your advantage. Connect with a reporter on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook (or in real life) more than six months in advance of the pitch. Simple strategies such as Retweeting a story, leaving a comment on a website below the story, and complimenting a reporter on a job well done can set you apart from the crowd.

2.     Offer yourself as an expert on your field of practice. Make sure the reporter knows that their story and their readers will benefit from having you in it.

3.     Define the story in just one sentence that you can explain in just 10 seconds. The elevator pitch is vital to the success of the pitch. Keep it concise and keep it informative but do not overwhelm the reporter with a barrage of facts.

4.     Keep e-mail correspondence short. So not send a large amount of research for reporters to comb through – they will get bored.

5.     Devote time to creating catchy e-mail subject lines. Reporters receive hundreds of e-mails each day. Dust off the Thesaurus to make sure yours stands out.

6.     Create “reporter bait”: Hold an event and invite the media, frame your story as a local example of a national trend, and spotlight unique ties to trending news.

7.     Avoid slang and jargon that is specific to the profession. For us, these include SIS, ADL and even OT.

8.     Do not show up in a newsroom unannounced or cold call a reporter after 3 p.m.

 

Have you pitched an idea or story to the media lately? How did it go? I’d love to hear from you. E-mail me at kriley@aota.org and check back for more tips and tricks on how to get published in the mainstream media coming soon.