Being featured in newspapers, magazines, and on radio and television can help you increase your brand's influence, authority, and awareness. Many small firms, on the other hand, do not have the financial resources to seek outside aid with their media relations. The good news is that you can do your own public relations with a little know-how.
Here are a few pointers to get you started:
Once you've determined your goal, consider who you want to reach and what they read, watch, and listen to.
It's important to be specific; if your goal is to 'attract more clients,' you'll have a hard time finding relevant publications or programs. It will be much easier to pick which publications or programs to target if you have a more particular target group in mind, such as "working mums with employment in the financial sector."
Simply ask if you want to know what the individuals you want to reach read, watch, or listen to. Using a platform like Survey Monkey, you can construct an online survey or questionnaire in minutes, and a small sample of people who suit your target audience (between 10 and 50 is optimal) can supply you with enough information to generate a shortlist of target publications.
Although coverage in the Sunday Times may appeal to you, if your ideal customer reads the Sun, you may be wasting your time.
Also, don't assume that being featured in the national news is preferable than being featured in the regional or trade press. A story in a local newspaper or industry title may be significantly more beneficial than a two page spread in the Daily Express if you're wanting to target people in a certain area or industry.
Many publications contain contact information for journalists, including email addresses. If they aren't, you can typically figure out the email format by glancing at the listed addresses (advertising sales contacts usually are).
Producers and researchers for radio and television can be difficult to find, but social mediasites like Twitter and LinkedIn can help. If you're unsure, call and ask. Also, remember that newsrooms are busy places, so don't take it personally if individuals are a little short on the phone.
Avoid using generic email addresses (for example, news@ or features@) because they are rarely checked. Make it your aim to obtain the name and email address of the person who will be responsible for deciding whether or not to use your story.
Every week, most journalists get dozens of press releases and email pitches. Few people have time to read them all (in fact, many are discarded without being read), so the closer your tale concept is to their ideal story, the more likely you are to capture their attention.
The sender of most press releases and email pitches hasn't bothered to read the media to whom they're pitching (or watch in the case of radio and TV). Begin by learning about the types of tales that have been covered – ideally across several weeks or months – and you'll have a far higher chance of succeeding.
It's a good idea to find out about lead periods (the time between an editor or producer requesting an item and it being published or broadcast) when you're building contacts for your target media. Lead times are usually longer than you think.
Consumer magazines can plan up to six months ahead of time, so if you phone a newspaper at 3 p.m. with a story idea for the next day, you'll have missed your chance (unless you've got the scoop of the century).
Because local newspapers are frequently understaffed, a well-written press release with all pertinent information can be printed with minimal revisions. On the internet, there are several instances of press releases. Consider hiring a freelance writer if you're not sure of your writing abilities.
The majority of freelancers have their own websites. Look for someone with media experience, as they will be able to provide you feedback on whether or not your article will catch the attention of journalists (and, if not, suggest tweaks that will make it more newsworthy).
If you're pitching an industry, consumer, or national newspaper, a few paragraphs in an email explaining your idea is usually sufficient. A journalist is more likely to pay attention to an email header that includes the phrase's story idea' and a fascinating one-liner that explains your tale.
It's also acceptable to pitch ideas over the phone. Simply avoid obvious busy times (such as the day before a newspaper's deadline or shortly before a radio program's news bulletin) and have an email pitch or press release ready to send if asked - most journalists will.
Also, don't compose articles on the spur of the moment, as these are rarely published.
If a journalist is interested in your story, you should expect a response within a day or two. However, in a busy newsroom, stories might be overlooked, so don't be hesitant to call or email to follow up on pitches or press releases. If you've chased the journalist a few times and haven't gotten a response, it's usually reasonable to conclude the journalist isn't interested and move on.
It's permissible to pitch the same story to multiple programs or newspapers, as long as you're clear about your intentions. Keep in mind that rivalry might exist between publications – and even between sections of the same newspaper, magazine, or program. While it may be tempting to seek out as much press coverage as possible, if a journalist who wants to cover your story sees it elsewhere before theirs, they will be less than pleased. And it's never worth jeopardizing long-term relationships for the sake of a quick buck.
I'm going to be brutally honest. It's not easy to get news coverage, especially at a national level. Building a media profile might take months, if not years, so don't be discouraged if you don't get immediate results. Some journalists will entirely disregard your press releases and pitches. Others will dismiss your ideas time and time again. You will obtain results if you are persistent, consistent, and willing to learn from your mistakes (which you will make).
I know there isn't a magic alarm that goes off at the exact moment your product or service is ready for launch since I've been involved in multiple media-based start-ups. Typically, weeks, months, or years of development pass until a common consensus emerges that the time has come to start yelling about the finished outcome.
However, there are a few things that must be in place before you approach the press, the first of which is ensuring that the product is available. Why? Because, in a perfect world, your chosen magazine prints your press release and the product images you provided, resulting in sales.
Yes, you must consider magazine lead times (most want information weeks or even months before it is printed), but you will not be given another chance if you fail to provide.
Of course, a press release should be part of a larger marketing strategy, but unlike some parts of marketing, where the return on investment is rather predictable, it is nearly difficult to control or even forecast the success of a PR campaign. This, of course, can be extremely aggravating in PR.
Why did a competitor's product receive a quarter of a page when you didn't? Why is it that your competitor's CEO is cited in every story, but you are never mentioned? It all comes down to connections and, to a lesser extent, appearance, and both are important when making that first contact.
It's easy to believe that you know more than a journalist or section editor when trying to get their attention. It can seem natural that others will want to write about your product or service since you are so invested in it and persuaded of its relevance to the market.
It's aggravating when that doesn't happen. My Editor was the only person who knew what kind of piece we loved to print better than I did when I was the editor of a prominent British magazine.
In fact, when a new editor arrived, he deferred to me because he was willing to accept that, while he was getting his bearings, I understood more about what we would and wouldn't cover than he did. Yet it was surprisingly typical for an enraged publicist to lose their cool when trying to persuade me that I had no choice but to write about their client.
It doesn't imply you're a perfect match just because you think you are.
Hundreds of press releases arrive through mail and email each week in a busy magazine, and they only play a little role in what the magazine will cover. In reality, a news tidbit inspired by a press release has possibly the lowest journalistic cachet of all.
Magazine editors and their staff are serious individuals who are frequently overworked and underpaid. Of course, there are benefits, but the hours are demanding, and they take delight in determining their own schedule.
In other words, they're not only there to fill their pages with 'fluff' about new products or services; they're also there to discuss trends, spark dialogues, and dispatch journalists on fascinating assignments.
As J.K. Rowling would tell you, this does not mean you should give up hope of ever getting in. Her first Harry Potter novel was notoriously rejected multiple times before a junior editor plucked it from the slush pile.
The technique of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" is at the heart of the PR game, and PRs are known to court journalists with a variety of gifts. Hotels frequently do this: come stay for free in one of our suites and then write about how wonderful your visit was.
When I worked in London, it seemed like a PR firm would show up every week with 500 bags of crisps or a couple of hundred bottles of beer for us to test in the hopes of getting us to write about it. However, it is a risky proposition.
Your goal is to make contact with the persons in charge of the sections of the magazines you wish to work for. Journalists aren't as big on random networking as some other professions, but they do prefer to have a diverse network of fascinating contacts. Aim to become a good contact - a go-to person for industry information.
When working with a PR agency, this isn't really possible, but if you're doing your own PR, it's a good idea to send a personal email. Keep it friendly, keep it short, explain why you're reaching out, and offer suggestions on how you might help.
Attach your press release, as well as your finest product photographs, if you have one. Will you receive a response? Maybe not, but I'm guessing your email has a better chance of being viewed than a completely random press release that looks just like a hundred other emails.
A good freelancer can help you connect with your target newspaper. Freelancers are less overworked than staff writers or section editors, and they are more eager to be paid. If you can persuade a notable freelancer in your sector that you have a compelling tale, he or she will likely give it their all – and may even try to get you into many titles.
If you notice a writer who isn't listed on the masthead as a member of staff, he or she is a freelancer (we're occasionally identified as "contributors" as well). Finding writers via a personal website or LinkedIn is typically not too difficult.
How to get PR for your small business (without hiring an expensive PR agency!) | Publicity | HBHTV
Public relations professionals come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the best of them keep up with the changes and have excellent social media abilities. If I were spending moneyI couldn't afford on a product launch, I'd make sure the publicist was well-versed in Twitter and Facebook, had verifiable expertise, and a large network of contacts in my chosen area.
Before you make that decision, look over this list again and ask yourself what you're marketing – and what you might need to change to make it more appealing to those busy, seen-it-all-before magazine and newspaper editors whose pages you're aching to occupy.
Finally, because I work with Grow to develop informative and interesting blog contentfor SMEs' websites, and because we journalists know a thing or two about words and getting a point across,
A strong blog helps you establish yourself as a credible voice, informs and educates your clients, and aids in Google Search.