3 Keys to a Successful Media Campaign

A successful earned media campaign is fueled by three things: perfect timing, the right media targets and a great story.

While a campaign’s success is often judged by the results, it’s important to closely monitor your progress throughout, adjusting pitches accordingly and refocusing on new reporters as needed. 

We recently concluded three successful media campaigns for three different clients, ranging from a nonprofit museum to a local grower of hydroponic baby greens to a technology client whose executive was the subject of a new movie screening nationwide. While these campaigns told different stories to different audiences, one thing was consistent: the demand for results, results, results.

Reflecting on these campaigns, which landed coverage in media such as The Washington Post, Associated Press, New York Times, TIME, Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, NECN and NBC10 Boston, the following success factors stand out.

Find timely and newsworthy hooks

Go beyond your news and tie it to the larger news cycle. In the case of Little Leaf Farms, the grand opening of its expanded hydroponic greenhouse coincided with the breaking news of widespread romaine contamination with E. coli from growers in California and Arizona. While Little Leaf Farms’ story would certainly have led to coverage, connecting it to the larger national story piqued the interest of additional reporters who otherwise would not have covered news of a greenhouse expansion.

Think visually

Media gravitate to strong visuals, especially in broadcast, and it’s best to think through visuals that best tell your story. In the case of the International Museum of World War II’s exhibit on women in World War II, we offered reporters a hands-on, up close and personal experience with more than 100 artifacts from the war, including a series of original Ansel Adams photographs documenting Massachusetts-based women’s roles in the war effort. In this case, we let the visuals sell the story, and the resulting coverage exceeded expectations.

Tailor to the reporter

Know everything you can about the journalist and what might appeal to them intellectually and emotionally. For our pitch about a client executive raised in the foster care system in Massachusetts, we identified reporters who would be moved by the narrative. This included the “Inspired Life” blog at the Washington Post, a freelance writer for the New York Times who is a foster parent and Boston 25 News’s in-depth series highlighting the foster care system. Busy reporters receive hundreds of pitches a day—showing them you’ve taken the time to research their work and find a relevant connection will go a long way.

Building a successful media campaign takes time, but the right hooks, research and visual components can mean the difference between an unanswered pitch email and a national feature story.


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