Like much marketing, trying to get your business Featured in the press and Media is a lot like planting seeds.
If you want pumpkins then you need to choose the right seeds, prepare the soil and nurture your pumpkin plant regularly.
Otherwise, it could all go horribly wrong with just a bunch of weeds to show. And, would be a real shame considering that getting featured in the press and media is a great way to showcase your expertise and position yourself as the ‘go to’ expert, generate leads and get in front of the right people to open up collaborative and speaker opportunities.
Unfortunately, if you grab a bunch of any old seeds, scatter them about on a dodgy piece of ground and walk away when nothing happens the next day then you are never going to see your prize pumpkin sprouting up, are you?
So, how do you strike gold with a prize PR pumpkin? For that you need to match together two essential pieces of the puzzle – what Journalists want, and ‘your story’. Grab your free cheatsheet, by clicking the button below, to help you find ‘your story’ – plus, I’ll explain a bit more later in this blog.Click here to access your Find 'My Story' Cheatsheet
Trying to get press and media coverage is a lot like many other marketing activities – it is all too often seen as a ‘have a go’ type of activity. I’ve done it myself with Facebook advertising – had a go, not got the results I wanted and then stopped because it all felt like a huge waste of time and effort. Mmmmm, still working on that, Facebook ad tips most welcome.
The truth is, when it comes to getting featured in the press and media then following a simple process which fits together those two essential pieces of the puzzle together will give you a much better chance of achieving results. So, what do you need to do to get featured in the press and media, what’s the secret sauce, what is the process to follow? Here it is – I’ve set it out in this blog post, so let’s get cracking.
7 steps to getting your business featured in the media
If you are serious about getting featured in the press and media then you need to think carefully about what you want to achieve and your expectations. That’s important for a number of reasons. First, getting on national radio, television or in national newspapers is often seen as the ultimate prize. But, when you have had no profile at all then it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get picked up by the big boys straight away. That’s not to say it’s impossible, it’s not. It’s just that it’s important to be realistic.
You are much better off setting your sights on local and regional press and media as well as trade and specialist publications and websites. The reason is twofold – experience at this level gives you a good grounding for presenting yourself in the best light when those ‘bigger’ opportunities come along. And, also, those ‘prize’ opportunities are much more achieveable if you can demonstrate a track record of being featured and appearing elsewhere. It shows/builds trust because you have already delivered the goods for another media outlet. Think of it as stepping stones.
Less is most definitely more. Maybe you know where you want to be featured in the media or maybe you’ll need to do a bit of research to dig a bit deeper. But, one thing is for sure, you need to give your target journalists exactly what they want. And, to do that you have to have a tight focus on the press and media you want to target. No scattering a bucket of pumpkin seeds on some dodgy, weedy, ground and hoping for the best, thank you very much.
The truth is, the fewer the media outlets you focus on the more you can dig deeper to find out what they want and that then gives you a much better chance of getting journalists to take notice. So, what does that research mean? It means taking the time to go through the magazine, website, listen/watch the programme to really get a feel for what they are about. Or, working with someone who will do that research for you.
This research gives you an essential piece of the jigsaw puzzle for getting featured in the media – the knowledge regarding what your target media outlets and journalists want.
4. Connecting and engaging
That knowledge is crucial and you can dig much deeper with it, and give your pitches a better chance of success, by connecting and engaging with your target journalists. It helps you get on their radar and gives you the opportunity to get ‘inside their heads’. And, it gives you a better chance of getting your email read too – they’ll see it come into their inbox and recognise the name and that helps you get a vital first foot in the door.
5. Your story
Another key piece of the jigsaw puzzle is ‘your story’ – what you can contribute that fits with what the journalist/media outlet wants.
I’m sorry to say that journalists just aren’t interested in you and your business in the way you want them to be interested. Their job is not to ‘promote’ you. Their job is to focus on what their readers/viewers/listeners will be interested in.
The stumbling block for many people is that they think of being featured in the press and media as free advertising. Well, yes, you aren’t paying for it in the way you do with advertising – you pay for it in time and effort instead. But, whereas with advertising you can directly promote your business and you pay to do so, being featured in the press and media via editorial content simply doesn’t work that way.
How many times do you see something in the press and media that is all about ‘this is my business – buy, buy, buy…’ It just doesn’t happen. Think about it for a second – most of what you see in the press and media is not promotional in that way. If you, as a reader, listener or viewer, come across that then it’s a big turn off, right?
And, the more research you do, the more you’ll come to realise that a ‘me, me, me, promote me’ approach with journalists just won’t get you anywhere. In fact, it will do more harm than good because it will just put that journalist off you whatever idea you approach them with next time, and that is just shooting yourself in the foot.
So, what do you have that journalists will be interested in? First, it’s not all about your business and what it sells. It’s much more subtle than that. It’s about your views, experiences, insights, your expertise, the knowledge you can share that readers/viewers/listeners will find useful, informative, educational, entertaining. Actually, in some shape or other it all comes down to human interest. You can read more about that in this blog post which covers the essential ingredients for putting together a news story: Have you hit the media hot spot?
So, you need to find ‘your story’ – what the journalist will be interested in. And, when I say ‘your story’ it may be that you have many ‘stories’ or ways/oportunities you can get press and media coverage. You can dive much deeper into that with this free cheat sheet – click the link below to access your free cheat sheet to discover ‘your story’ – what you have that journalists will be interested in.Click here to access your Find 'My Story' Cheatsheet
Once you’ve put together the two pieces of the puzzle:
- what your target media want
- ‘your story’ – what’s specific to you that journalists will be interested in
Then, it’s a matter of clearly formulating your ideas to pitch to your target journalists. Here are a few tips to get you started on giving those pitches the best chance of success:
- keep your pitches short and concise – avoid the waffle and get straight to the point
- make it clear in the email subject line the essence of the story or idea you are suggesting
- show you know the publication/website and indicate why your idea or story is relevant
- make it as easy as possible for the journalist to say ‘yes’ – make your idea crystal clear
You can check out more top tips for pitching journalists here: How to pitch journalists and for insight on how not to pitch a journalists then check this out too: How not to pitch a journalist – it outlines findings from research with journalists and reflects their pet hates, it makes for interesting reading.
7. Being relentless
Journalists get pitches each and every day. And, the vast majority fail. They fail for very many reasons. It may be that the essential pieces of the puzzle just don’t quite fit together (what journalists want and ‘your story’). But, it can also be for any number of other reasons, maybe:
- someone else has beaten you to the punch with their own pitch on that theme or topic
- something similar has appeared recently and the editor feels the topic has been ‘done’
- a big news story has taken all the attention and shifted the focus
- it doesn’t quite fit with their tone or style
- it doesn’t fit with the themes they are planning to explore in forthcoming editions
- they already have established experts and sources lined up to cover this topic
Or, maybe they just missed your email. After all, they get so many emails each and every day.
So, don’t give up if you don’t get a response. You just need to go back and try again, and again until you cut through. And, don’t let fear hold you back. It’s all too easy to feel intimidated by journalists but they want to hear from you – it’s just that they want to hear from you regarding the right stuff. For tips on this then check out this blog post: 10 steps to banishing fear of approaching the media.
The first pitch I sent to The Huffington Post didn’t get anywhere. On my second attempt I was successful and I’ve been successful in pitching them since for a number of clients and friends. So, keep plugging away and don’t be put off if you don’t succeed straight away.
In a nutshell: Getting featured in the press and media might not happen straight away, bear that in mind. But, if you plant those PR pumpkin seeds in the right soil and look after and nurture them then you will get your prize winning pumpkins. It all comes down to finding ‘your story’ and matching that with what you know your target journalists are interested in.
So, what’s ‘your story’ and how have you shared it?
Need more help with finding ‘your story’ and finding the right journalists who will be interested? Then, drop me an email at: [email protected] with ‘What’s my story?’ in the email subject title.
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