As a small or start up-business, trying to get in the media is an important strategy, but can often feel like a daunting, nay impossible task. Where do you even begin? And do you need a big budget to make a difference?
At Cedarwood Digital, we work with clients with a variety of budgets from small-scale to larger campaigns. So we know first-hand that you can make an impact, regardless of size or budget.
We’ve rounded up our top tips and broken down the process of how to get media coverage for your business, so you can start a media storm.
1. Understand what is valuable to journalists
- Content that offers a new and interesting angle
- Data-lead content
- Eye-catching images
When creating a press release, make sure to bear in mind that journalists receive countless similar emails a day. You need to be sure to provide something valuable that they can’t get elsewhere. Try to make sure your content is something new, with research to support or challenge thinking.
Surveys that provide journalists with interesting and topical statistics are a great way to get your business featured in the press. Whilst there are companies that will run surveys for you, these can be costly, so SME’s can benefit from using their own customer databases to conduct surveys and research.
Images are also crucial for a strong press release, as we live in an increasingly visual world. Supplying a few strong images to support your press release saves the journalist time and energy sourcing a relevant image themselves, and could be the decision-maker for whether or not your story gets featured.
2. Know your target audience
- Personalise press releases for each publication
- Include regional and local press
Work out an angle to spin your story to make it relevant and interesting to the readership of any publication that you’re looking target. Try not to generalise content and send it across all genres of media – this will be clear to the journalist and look lazy. It’s best to brainstorm and research topical news, upcoming events or media trends in that domain that your content can be linked to.
Don’t neglect regional press, as a local angle can also be a great hook. Though regional publications will have a smaller audience than nationals, they offer the chance to showcase news and features on a local scale and can be easier to get featured in than bigger publications. If you’re offering research and statistics that cover the whole of the UK, try breaking your research down into key city demographics so that it is more relevant to regional publications. For example, if you have conducted a survey that investigates adult usage of mobile phones in the UK, you could break the results down into cities to make the statistics more relevant.
3. Create a list of media contacts
- Use paid media databases or free tools
- Make connections over social media
Though you may already be familiar with a few key publications you would like to target, it’s essential to expand your horizons and discover more outlets that may be interested in covering your story. Fortunately, there are multiple online resources to help you to create a thorough media list – including niche, trade publications to nationals.
Response Source, Vuelio and Gorkana all offer subscriptions to media databases, allowing you to gain access to a wealth of influential journalists’ contacts at top publications. Or for those with smaller budgets, websites like Hunter.io offer the chance to search a limited number of journalist contacts for free. Both Twitter and LinkedIn can be also be good places to start for building connections – monitor #journorequest and #prrequest on Twitter to look out for relevant feature opportunities and connect with interesting journalists on LinkedIn.
When building your press list, make sure you pay attention to digital publications as well as print. Getting featured in digital publications is not only good for PR but also for your website’s SEO rankings. Links to your website from popular online publications will help boost your website’s overall SEO (more info on this here) and so the online publishing world should form an integral part in your PR strategy.
4. Research the targeted journalist
- Know the topics that journalists like to cover
- Pay attention to deadlines
- Don’t harass journalists
Once you’ve built your press list, make sure to pay close attention to detail when sourcing the relevant journalists’ contact details. Research who you need to contact, considering their speciality and position within the company, and then you can approach the target publication to source their details and preferred method of receiving information. You don’t want to come across as rude or unprofessional to journalists by getting their details wrong.
Make sure to stay organised with deadlines and publications dates to avoid pestering journalists when they’re working against the clock. There’s no problem in getting in touch to ask if a certain topic is of interest, but don’t harass them. If you’ve followed up twice via email and have still not had a response, then unfortunately the journalist is not interested in your pitch.
5. Design your press release to make an impression
Present your press release in a way that is as easy as possible for a journalist to dissect. Generally, try to stick to the following rules:
- Immediately summarise the essence of the content in the first paragraph
- Don’t use technical terms which aren’t accessible, and avoid just stating facts
- Try to support your story with evidence or statistics if possible
- Be black and white with information you provide – making claims about your business that you can’t back up will be complicated and unprofessional
- Detail your contact information at the end of the press release, and make sure to be efficient and available for follow up calls
- Include ‘Notes to the Editor’ at the bottom of your release. This is where you can include useful background information that does not feature in your press release, such as an overview of your business’ services, how you conducted your research for your press release or a brief history of your business. Then you’re ready to press send!
6. Add supporting information & special extras to the press release
- Offer interviews, case studies and photographs
- Consider exclusivity for larger publications
To give your press release a bit more zest, it’s worth considering what extra support you could provide to each journalists. Publications often want to get unique angles on stories to avoid duplicated articles, so offering think about offering a case study, interview or photograph to sweeten the deal.
If you have a larger publication in mind that you are eager to work with, then you could offer them the exclusive on the story first, as being featured on one large publication with a significant audience could be more worthwhile than features on ten smaller publications.
7. Build relationships with journalists
- Be a reliable contact
For long term benefits, provide news and content on a regular basis to journalists, stick to deadlines, make yourself available for interviews and comment. This way you will create a great reputation for yourself as a useful contact and build a relationship with the press. Don’t be intimidated when getting in touch with a journalist – if you’ve followed these steps and consistently deliver, your media coverage will soar in no time.
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