The best thing about PR is that it’s never been easier to get started with it - or more important . With ultra-low cost, high return tools like HARO , TextBroker , HelpAReporter , and more, starting your own PR program has never been so easy. That means growth for companies big and small can start today - without hiring a publicist or consultant. Today I’m sharing how even one person can grow his business through PR (and what some of my clients have had to say about it.) If you want investment capital, you pitch an investor; if you want coverage in a publication or on a website , you pitch a reporter. If that sounds difficult, it’s not - and this new free video class will explain how.
The point is simple: if you want to get covered, find out who the decision-makers are at those places (editors or reporters), and then pitch them on your story.
After 2 decades of researching tools like HARO , I’ve helped dozens of clients put together basic PR plans, and guided many through their first successful pitches. Some have even gotten free marketing from different media for life . Here are five quick tips to help PR beginners make sure they’re pitching the right people - everyone from small business owners to Fortune 500 CEOs.
- Know what makes great content.
Learn the simple formula that will help you get a story in any publication. Working PR relationships are vital to grow your business fast. This article shares 5 secrets of successful PR outreach to publications and how they can benefit your business growth.
Put Your Products In The Hands Of Journalists: Make sure journalists have access to your products and give them samples for review or even better, a whole product suite for a full review. Provide journalists with well written press releases (PR) about new products from your company. We recommend using pr-log, to create professional quality press releases (PR).
A Bit Goes A Long Way: You should make yourself available by posting on message boards, on twitter and interacting with journalists . You can also offer to provide an expert source, like a CEO or founder on certain topics that are related to their publication.
If you take the time to follow these tips you will increase your chances of being covered by top media publications which in turn drives traffic to your website and increases sales.
- Learn the secrets about how publications work.
The most important thing to understand about media coverage is the fact that journalists are always looking for a good story, and they’re interested in hearing yours. If it sounds like a good fit - if your pitch seems compelling - then you’ve got their attention, and that means you can start the conversation . Here are some secrets of PR success:
The best place to find stories is through your own customers. So make sure you know what they want (newsletters, blog posts, etc.) and give them more than what they expect!
We tend to cover things we care about: that’s why one of my clients was written up as “the most exciting CEO” by FORTUNE , when he launched Waze - the world’s largest real-time traffic and navigation app for drivers.
Reporters work on tight deadlines, so asking them to cover something a few months from now will make it much less likely that they’ll write about you or interview you . Even if your story is relevant down the road, don’t expect it to get written about without making some sort of contact first .
If you have an upcoming event (a new product launch, etc.), keep things simple for journalists by sending out just one email blast announcing the news with a link to where people can RSVP or buy tickets. Don’t include any other attachments or links in this invite; stick to the core components of what makes the event important.
Use your own media contact list. If you know reporters or editors, then make sure to get their attention by sending them a personalized message . Make it short and sweet – they’re on Twitter too!
- Start with the right pitch. Put your best foot forward, even in an introductory email
To be fair to any journalist you are pitching , make sure not to send more than one link in any initial email offering a story tip; don’t ask for feedback/input either. The first time around, let the reporter see what you have without trying to build rapport first - just stick to making the introduction . Later on, once you’ve followed up successfully, that’s when you can start talking about the next steps.
If you don’t get a response from the first email, send another one . Don’t wait forever; but do try again (once more) before giving up for good.
Remember to personalize your message : start with something like “Dear John” or “Hi Jane,” so that a journalist knows exactly who they’re talking to, and what this initial contact is about. Even if they can’t respond immediately, journalists will appreciate knowing why you are writing them.
One common mistake of PR people is to just pitch stories with no thought behind it in terms of why they would even get interested in covering the story . Also make sure you know what publications cover industry trends and news before approaching them . For example , if you’re PR person for a new online fashion store that’s just launched, you wouldn’t want to approach a publication focused on politics!
- Make the most out of your story pitch.
The best way to get noticed is by sending journalists something original and exclusive . Reporters can get so many emails from PR people these days, they really need to see something unique. That means if it’s not completely exclusive, it has to be at least different and interesting in some way.
If, instead, the information isn’t technically new or forward-looking (or if there are other reasons why it might seem less newsworthy), then at least make sure you know who your audience is going to be . For example: if you’re pitching a story to an editor for a print magazine, don’t send the same pitch to that person’s blogger. It just won’t make sense.
When reaching out about your topic of interest, try starting with something like: “I’d love to know more about why you chose this particular angle.” That gives the reporter a chance to share his/her reasoning and then also opens up the door for a follow-up conversation so you can ask other questions (i.e., ones that might be better suited for getting back in touch).
- Always be prepared! Remember these tips when PR is ready to rock ‘n roll…
Don’t forget research . Look at what similar articles have been written about before, and try to find out if the topic is still relevant . This way, you’ll be able to better anticipate what the journalist is likely to ask or need.
Always have a good answer for why your story matters . If it’s an ongoing development, describe what has changed recently (or describe new data/research that looks at things differently). For example: more people are using this than ever before , here’s where this came from , or in order for X to happen, it’s crucial now more than ever before that _______ happens. - Make sure you have all of your contact information handy when crafting your pitch; include an email address for follow-up questions, even if it’s not your primary one (i.e., put it in the BCC field, instead of CC) . - Always keep a record of your conversations with journalists if you should need them for any follow-ups (since emails can get lost). Although this is more important to do when corresponding with someone through phone or in person, but since PR people are notorious for emailing multiple times before getting an answer… well, just be aware that at some point you may have to turn to whatever records you kept.