Christian media changes lives. It gives people hope. And it gives us direction in our everyday walk. But that is not the only thing that makes Christian media so different from secular media outlets.
The reach and power of Christian media is gaining strength every day. It is getting harder and harder to deny the influence that these outlets have on a large segment of the population. Specifically, a population that you are, most likely, trying desperately to reach. And that is a great thing for your organization.
However, the dynamics involved in engaging Christian media can be difficult to navigate. If you do not have someone skilled and knowledgeable guiding you, it is easy to get lost.
TYPES OF OUTLETS
Christian media outlets tend to be very specialized in nature, which is not out of the ordinary, per se. Though, when adding ministries and teaching media into the fold, many more widespread opportunities present themselves. Identifying which specific outlet best fits your message is key.
- News: News outlets are mostly focused on breaking news, with some feature opportunities sprinkled in. If you have an expert on a specific topic, news outlets are the perfect opportunity to get exposure. Just be sure to be readily available at any time to answer the call – or make the call!
- Feature: This is the most common type of outlet in the Christian world. Most Christian outlets will produce feature stories. TV shows, online, print, and radio all provide great opportunities to tell your story. There is a lot of competition for this type of coverage and your story will need to offer something unique. In addition, you will need to provide multiple qualified voices, visuals, and sometimes audio to enhance the feature.
- Specialty: Specialty media outlets have a certain topic they focus on. One example is news and happenings in Israel. But it can go even deeper than that. Since politics involving Israel is a hot button issue, your non-political inspirational story on experiencing Jesus while touring Jerusalem’s Old City may not be of any interest to an Israel-focused outlet.
- Teaching: Most teaching outlets are tied to a ministry, which in itself is also an owned property in the world of paid, earned, and owned media. So, this type of outlet should be treated differently. Many of these are not looking for outside content or guests on their shows. And, most of those that are open to outside interviews are looking for someone who can help provide a book or product as a gift in return for a donation to their ministry from the consumer. These are tricky because they should be complimentary and supplemental voices to the ministry, but not a competing voice to the ministry. There is great value in them, however, because they have viewers and listeners that already trust this source.
MAKING THE PITCH
So, once you have determined the appropriate outlets to pursue, there are SIX PR PRINCIPLES to keep in mind as you pitch the story or media opportunity.
- Determine Lead Time: Each outlet has a different lead time for their content. For breaking news, there is not always a timetable. For print magazines, deadlines could be months in advance. And, television shows sometimes tape daily, and sometimes record months of shows in just a few days. Determining what each outlet’s editorial calendar looks like is imperative in successfully pitching to them.
- Identify Appropriate Contacts: Just because you have found the perfect outlet to pitch your story or spokesperson to does not mean the work is done. Many outlets have multiple editors, producers, schedulers and writers who could be the best person to speak to. Finding the right person takes time and it takes work.
- Secure Contact Information: As mentioned above, some outlets are not considered traditional media. Therefore, their contact information is not available in software that public relations professionals often utilize. It takes a good bit of work to identify these contacts, secure their information and create trusting relationships. Developing a good professional relationship takes time and nurturing.
- Develop Curated Content: With the dramatic shift in media over the last 5-10 years, media outlets are being forced to cut staff and to be more resourceful. With that in mind, many are looking for content that has already been created which can be a big win for your organization. As long as the content fits with their specifications, it is an opportunity for you to tell your story how you want to tell it. A win-win!
- Recognize Distinct Perspectives: Many different denominational and doctrinal perspectives are represented in Christian media which present quite a few unique messaging challenges with which you must be familiar. A simple parallel might be that it is like understanding different dialects within one language. Knowing the multiple dialects can be vital.
- Define Trackable Metrics: One of the frustrating points of Christian media is the frequent lack of true trackable metrics, especially in radio and television. When trying to determine your return on investment (ROI), it often becomes a challenge to prove the worth of Christian media outreach through traditional metrics. However, it can be determined in different ways, such as a spike in traffic on your website, calls or emails to your organization, requests for information about the program that was just featured, and an increase in sales of your latest book. These metrics should be determined in advance and thoughtfully applied in the planning process.
There are challenges in navigating the world of Christian media. Yet, the payoffs for your organization are so important to your success.
Christian media gives Christians a “safe” place to consume content. Not only do these outlets produce family-friendly shows and articles, but the views offered are most likely in alignment with your consumers’ views and beliefs. Trusting what consumers are hearing and reading from their media instantly offers a deeper connection with what you are offering as well. A quick transition to confidence in you and your organization is often worth more than any trackable metric!
If your organization wants to experience the benefits of Christian media exposure,
Infinity Concepts can help! Contact VP/Chief Growth Officer Darrell Law at Darrell@infinityconcepts.com or 724.733.1200 x26 to discuss the best solutions for you.