Whether you’re a small startup or a large company, every business craves attention and publicity. Even though media coverage can help a company build awareness and a greater following, many companies do not have the connections they require or the type of budget to hire a public relations agency.
If you can effectively get media coverage, you will benefit in a number of ways. First of all, you will connect with your target audience – increasing sales and growth. In turn, you will build your brand and peak interest. Whether interest comes in the form of potential investors, beneficial employees, partners, or customers – media coverage can help you reach out to people who will help develop your company.
If you don’t know where to start, here are a few tips and pointers. If you plan properly and offer an interesting pitch – you can most certainly gain publicity without spending much on marketing or advertising.
1. Focus on Local First
You may have big plans for your company – as you plan to expand in the future. Of course, social media helps us reach a wider audience, targeting potential customers or clients from around the globe. When aiming to gain media coverage, start locally. As you gain traction in the media, you can target other areas a little further from home.
For now, focus on the local media outlets in which relate to your company. Is there a specific newspaper that writes a column you love? Does your company fit the bill in terms of the content that’s generally written? If this is the case, write to a specific journalist whose articles or columns you’re fond of.
As mentioned below, journalists will often have a strong social media following which is a great place to connect. Bring up a past piece that you really enjoyed and inquire about a possible opportunity. When pitching your concept or your company, make sure it’s something unique. Also, suggest a piece that reflects the journalist’s style and topic of interest.
If you do not follow any specific journalists, contact the editor of a local paper. Offer to write up a piece that will provide value to the community. Offer to submit some high-quality photos as well. If your company is something that will be of interest to your local community, local papers will jump at the offer to receive a well-written, informative piece.
2. Establish Relationships Through Social Media
There are several ways to pump your company through social media- with short phrases or longer, detailed stories. Don’t be shy to connect through social media. Twitter, for instance, has been an incredible resource for companies of all sizes, allowing for the establishment of beneficial relationships.
Do not immediately message them with your pitch – establish a relationship first. Whether that means retweeting their content or replying to a specific tweet, let them know you are truly interested in what they have to say. You want to be genuine, building relationships with journalists who cover stories within your industry or area of interest.
If you publish a story about your company that’s fresh and exciting, media outlets may even contact you. The key is using social media to your advantage, understanding how to properly make use of hashtags and tagging.
3. Stand Out From the Crowd
Just as you’re fighting for the spotlight – so are the thousands of other companies out there. Although you may offer a great product or service, that may not be enough to catch the media’s attention. If you want to secure coverage, you need to be unique regarding your approach. How will you present your story to the media?
One way to get noticed, is to offer a story that is rich in useful data. Infographics are the perfect solution in many cases, offering visually appealing data that is easy to read and digest. If you have a lot of complex information you want to present, a visualization of that data is going to appeal to readers.
In fact, visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text within the brain. If you can’t represent your story in the form of an infographic, be sure to include visuals of some sort. Insert a couple of high-quality photographs or even a video that is relevant to your pitch.
4. Write a Solid Pitch
It’s easy to become overly excited and pour your heart out into a pitch. Passion is great and is important to any successful company – just make sure you’re not adding too much fluff. Like you, journalists are busy people. They do not have time to skim through thousands of words. If they are interested in your pitch, you can expand on the concept later.
Keep it short and format effectively. If a journalist opens an email that is poorly constructed and contains an overwhelming amount of text, you may be ignored. If there are some key pieces of information that need to be included, but are lengthy to explain, attach them as a separate document.
Within your short pitch, you can mention the attachment. You should be using lists or bullet points to emphasize the content in your pitch and if you want to expand on a point, you can mention the attachment. That way, if they like your pitch, they have access to more information.
5. Consider Numerous Outlets
Communication outlets come in many different forms and although your local newspaper will always be a great place to start, it’s not your only option. Make a list of media outlets that would make sense for you company – radio, new stations, blogs, magazines, and newsletters are just some of the available options.
Once you have constructed a list, identify the individuals in which you should be sending your pitch to. Like any aspect of your company, you need to stay organized and update your information regularly. Build contacts and keep detailed files regarding deadlines and other vital pieces of information.
As you contact each outlet, keep some key elements in mind. For a journalist or radio host to consider your story, you will need to consider timeliness, relevance, human interest, and proximity. If you don’t know how to implement your media strategy, do a little bit of homework. Each media outlet provides its own unique opportunity and has the potential to reach specific audiences.
If you get rejected at first, don’t get discouraged. In many cases, it will have nothing to do with the quality of your pitch, it may just be bad timing. If someone rejects your pitch, thank them for their consideration and understand that there may be an opportunity in the future. Continue to follow the individual you reached out to and if they provided feedback, take it seriously.
If you’re not achieving your media-related goal, it’s important to reflect. Owning a company means that you will need to adapt and make changes based on your objectives. Seeking media attention is no different – it’s a learning process. As you adjust your media strategies, you will be able to pump your company into the media, allowing for growth and success.