When you’re first starting out as a business, getting business press can help speed the process of building brand awareness, which in turn, helps start a customer base. But, for many small businesses, getting press is difficult – competition, lack of connections, few story ideas – there are many reasons why coverage is an uphill battle. So, how can you win?
#1. Focus on Building Relationships
It’s easy to just “spray and pray” sending out your business press release to as many journalists as you possibly can, then hoping at least one of them will respond with interest in covering your story. Instead, locate and connect with journalists on various social media outlets, and take the time to really engage with them. Share their stories, comment often. Ask questions. Get to know them before you pitch them. This ensures you craft a truly personalized pitch that’s more likely to catch their attention. Journalists are pitched all the time – so you have to stand out. A real relationship is one way to do that.
#2. Think About What a Publication’s Readers Want
What you think may be interesting to cover may not be what the journalist is interesting in covering, or what the audience is interested in reading. Craft a story pitch that factors in not only what you want to highlight, but what the publication is likely to accept, and what the readers are most likely to respond to.
Answer these questions as you think of pitches to send to journalists:
- Who are people who read this publication most often?
- What kinds of things do they like to read?
- What kinds of things are they tired of seeing?
- What, if any current trends, can I play on?
#3. Offer Your Services as a Source
With platforms like Help a Reporter Out (HARO), you can offer your expertise as a source for stories when journalists are looking for help to complete a piece. Sometimes, they need a quote from an expert to put the finishing touches on an article before it goes to the editor. They use the platform to connect with people who can help them fulfill those needs. Many major media outlets use HARO, including Mashable, ABC, Time, Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times.
#4. Create a Media Page
Add a media page to your website that includes assets journalists can use in their stories, including: logos, headshots, bios, and more. When these things are readily accessible, it makes their work easier. When their job is a bit easier, they really appreciate it and are more likely to work with you again in the future.
#5. Create a Business Press Page
Add a business press page to your website that features any publications you’ve been mentioned in. This not only adds trust and credibility for your customers, but can be a great way to thank the journalists who’ve mentioned you, since you’re sharing their work.
You should include an introduction – which can be a bio of sorts – that details where you’ve been featured, and leads with your most impressive credentials. Beyond that, include the logos for anything you’ve been featured in, along with interviews, headshots, and testimonials.
#6. Pay Attention to the News
Keeping an eye on current local and national news can be a good way to get coverage. A practice known as “newsjacking”, this allows you to capitalize on current news stories and insert yourself as an expert.
For instance, if you’re a chef, and there’s a story about rising food costs, you could get your restaurant featured by offering yourself as a source. Share your story about how the rising food costs are affecting your restaurants profit margins, and whether or not you’re considering raising prices.
Or, if you’re in the heating and cooling business, and there’s a story about record-breaking temperatures, you could get your business featured by offering a quote in an article about how to keep yourself cool in the summer without breaking the bank, or how to stay warm in the winter when the main heat source goes out.
#7. Invite Media Professionals to Your Events
Hosting an event at your office, or elsewhere in the community? Send invitations to prominent members of the press. They may attend and provide coverage of the event, or seek to interview you for another story in the future.
Keep the invitation short. Know who their readers are, and only invite relevant media outlets. Don’t bother attaching anything to the email. Include a calendar prompt so it’s easy for them to add to their schedule.
#8. Actively Participate in Community Events the Press May Also Attend
If there’s a relevant event in your community where the press may also be, attend and actively participate. You may be approached for an interview, thus earning business press coverage.
#9. Organize or Contribute to Various Charitable Events
Regardless of whether you’re organizing the events or contributing to them, do it for the goodness of the cause, not what you can get out of it. Choose causes that are related to your business, or causes you know your audience is passionate about. Don’t expect press coverage because you made a $5 donation… or any donation at all. Consider it a fringe benefit.
#10. Craft Research Reports
If you have any kind of data you can use to create an original resource report, this is the kind of thing that will get coverage without much effort. Journalists and bloggers are often looking for statistics to support their own work, and can use your report as the basis of a story, or at least cite it in a story they are working on.
When you choose to pitch a journalist, it’s best to keep the email short. Use a killer subject line to catch their attention, but make sure the pitch itself is informative. Be honest. Allow the reporter adequate time to respond. Send an email about the story, and then follow up again a few days later. Sending more than that may convince the journalist you’re a spammer.
Do you have any additional tips for getting business press? Please share about them in the comments section below.
Image: Press Release