This post was written by Emma Lawrence and first appeared in Etch Magazine, which has now closed down. I loved the content and the website and wanted to bring it back to life for your benefit.
Every business owner wants to see their products, services or expertise featured in the media.
After all, positive editorial coverage is an incredibly valuable endorsement of all your hard work and can bring in a tonne of sales.
But scoring great publicity is no easy feat.
Here are six steps that will have your business basking in the media spotlight:
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Research the media you would like to be featured in, the specific sections that are relevant to your business, and the individual journalist or editor responsible for the editorial.
Media kits are also an excellent source of information such as circulation and readership details, a profile of the target audience, upcoming features and deadlines.
Most magazines will have a media kit you can download from their website, so jump online and look for any information directed at advertisers.
2. PLAN AHEAD
Good PR takes time, so don’t expect to fire off a few emails and be in the media next week.
Look at what’s coming up in your business over the next 12-18 months, seasonal topics, and events on the calendar that you can work a story around.
Magazines, in particular, work way ahead of deadline so you need to be contacting them several months before the issue you want to be featured in.
3. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS FIRST
You wouldn’t ask a stranger for a favour (unless you were desperate!), so don’t do it with the media.
Take the time to introduce yourself to journalists, familiarise yourself with their work, follow them on Twitter, and retweet their stories, before launching into your pitch.
Remember, great PR shouldn’t be a one-off. The aim of the game is to get ongoing editorial coverage, so focus on relationships first.
4. OFFER YOUR EXPERTISE
Journalists are always looking for great sources for stories, so once you’ve introduced yourself, share your experience and credentials and let them know you’re available anytime to provide expert comment.
You may not secure editorial coverage right then and there, but by taking the time to connect with the journalist from a ‘how can I help you’ point of view (as opposed to a ‘please feature me in your publication’ one!) there’s a very good chance you’ll get the call up to comment on a story sometime in the future.
5. ADOPT THE RIGHT STYLE
When you’re writing your story pitches, always adopt the ‘voice’ of the media outlet you’re targeting.
Make a note of the tone and language used in stories and headlines, and write your pitch in the same style.
For instance, the language used in a bridal magazine is going to be very different to a daily newspaper, so it’s important to make that distinction when you’re pitching to them.
6. BE PREPARED
Have a press pack at the ready that includes all the relevant information about your products or services, your business story, and high resolution images.
It’s a good idea to have a couple of testimonials from clients who are happy to be quoted in the media. Make sure you include their full name, location and any other information that may be required for a story.
You can also give yourself a head start by coming up with a list of suggested story ideas relevant to your business or tip sheets (e.g. 5 Tips for Planning a Romantic Mini-Break) that can be used by journalists in sidebars or breakout boxes.