Schools discover power of media publicity. Have you?

9 September 2015

Most leaders see the news media as a threat, but two schools have recently illustrated why attracting media attention can be a powerful tool in any marketing arsenal.

Tokirima School spent most of this year trying to find a Principal, but couldn’t get anyone to apply. Then a story appeared about their search in the Waikato Times. This led to 28 applications from contenders in Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

This isn’t unusual, but very few organisations ever consider contacting local media with interesting story ideas that will help grow their profile and reputation.

It was only a few months ago that Prince Harry visited Halfmoon Bay School on Stewart Island as part of his Royal tour. At the time, the school needed two more students to retain its second teacher. It used the prince’s visit to put the word out through the media. This saw two families move to the Island, allowing the second teacher to stay.

These are two great examples of how media coverage can grow the profile of any organisation. It’s just a matter of understanding what the media want and matching that with what you have to offer.

Anything focused on a topical issue is popular, while something that’s out of the ordinary often makes the grade. As an example, the Rugby World Cup is days away. That’s topical. Do you have expertise in an area related to rugby? Or could your company organise its own quirky event related to the world cup.

Media publicity is priceless for three major reasons. Firstly, it’s free. Secondly, it's great for reputations because people are more trusting of news that’s presented by a third party. The other major reason is its ability to reach far more people than you can ever expect to reach through your own networks.

Media training skills are important when it comes to dealing with reporters during crises or difficult situations. But they are just as useful when positive media opportunities present themselves. The only difference is that you must be proactive in attracting that attention.

For more on my media training and crisis communication planning events, contact or 029 200 8555.


Filed under Media Training

Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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