Getting positive media attention can be instrumental in helping your business grow. Good press can introduce a new venture to the market, restore a brand’s reputation, help connect a business with a community, or it can announce a new product that consumers may have been waiting for.
Press rewards can be quantitative and qualitative, with the potential to both increase your revenue and improve the perceptions of your brand. This can include garnering respect from peers both inside and outside your industry, increasing brand awareness and developing a connection with consumers. All in all, good press can help establish you as a mover, shaker and thought leader, making you the go-to source for business insights in your industry and making your company a trending brand in the market.
Good Press vs. Marketing
Keeping all of this in mind, there are various ways to generate good press. But before we continue, let’s take a look at how developing good press differs from your business’ other marketing efforts.
Good press comes from outside of your business and is written by journalists and influential writers about affairs associated with your business. Aside from offering interviews or providing information to the parties writing about your brand, your role will be relatively limited in press generation, as the journalists and the writers will be the ones shaping your brand’s story.
This is distinct from marketing, where information originates from inside the company. Your marketing team plans and executes branding and messaging, around which they develop campaigns to drive a product or service into the market. Your business controls every aspect of marketing, but it has relatively little control of what the press communicates about your brand.
Now that we’ve drawn the distinction, below are four simple steps to take that can result in positive press.
1. Start Before You Start
What does this mean? It means that, before you start pitching story ideas to journalists, you should first make a list of influential people who could be key contributors to your brand’s story.
The most important people when trying to land press are journalists and public relations (PR) experts. Why? Journalists will be the ones who will eventually write your story or connect you with colleagues who will. On the other hand, PR professionals have a solid grasp on the publishing industry, and they’ll know the best ways to pitch to journalists, as well as which journalists and media outlets will be most receptive to your brand. It is important to start building these relationships as soon as possible.
Obviously, you should start by networking with those who would know your industry best, but don’t stop there. One of the keys to sustaining favorable press coverage is building long-term relationships with people in your community, so try to hold community events or fundraisers to get some positive local publicity.
By focusing on building your targeted network now, you can forge bonds and build a bit of beneficial press before you even pitch your first story idea. Like the process of getting a new job, you don’t want to reach out only when you need something. You want the connections to be genuine and well-established before you start leveraging them.
2. Know What’s Going On
You should be well-aware of local and industry trends so you can determine how your news can be seamlessly incorporated into the conversation. You should know the story you want to tell. Ask yourself, “What is your story? Why is it newsworthy?” Keep in mind that stating facts about your business alone will not get you press. Instead, you need to be doing something different or have something that will capture the attention of both the press and your brand’s target customers.
Once you know exactly what you want to say, take the initiative to keep up with current industry trends and offer yourself as an authoritative source.Find relevant keywords that help you follow news in your industry; then, use Google Alerts to track any mention of the keywords in Google’s news feed.
Also, make yourself available by registering for a service that provides expert opinions for journalists that need them. For instance, Help A Reporter Out (HARO) sends three emails per day that detail sources that journalists are looking out for. Should you find yourself in a position where you provide a reporter with industry knowledge and/or background on your company, this is a perfect opportunity to reach out and do so.
3. Build a Journalist Database
As you talk to journalists and PR experts and come across news stories and reporters that cater to your subject matter, field of interest and/or geographical area, be sure to take note of the contact information of the writers who craft the stories.
This is your opportunity to practice your networking skills. Create a database with information about the journalist, their contact details, recent articles and anything else that may help when it comes time to contact them. Take any and all opportunities to meet these individuals in person. Get to know them, and let them get to know you.
If you discover that one of these journalists will be attending a local event, be sure to arrive at the event well-equipped with knowledge about that person. Know your audience, and anticipate what they want to hear from you. Also, be aware that they most likely don’t want to be pitched a story on the spot, so be casual when speaking to them. This means that there’s no intimidating demand to be met, and the friendly banter may leave them wanting to learn more about you and your company in the future.
Keep in mind that you want it to seem like you’re helping the journalist, and not the other way around. The expertise you’re offering is helping them better perform their jobs, and the resultant press it garners for your brand is simply a welcomed byproduct.
4. Make the Journalist’s Job Easier
Once you have secured relationships with journalists, you can notify them of any news about your business. Provide critical material upfront, including quotes, key details and other relevant sources. If possible, it’s best to meet in person so you can review important details and develop the story together. A conversation is an opportunity for both you and the writer to determine the best way to tell the story. Once the journalist has agreed to write a story, be tactful about following up. Email is the recommended method, but be sure to do so sparingly.
Solid press can be key to growing your business and establishing yourself as an influential voice in your industry. In order to tell your story and get the press you desire, it’s best to strategize as early as possible, enabling you to develop long-term relationships that will come in handy when the time comes to break your story. By planning your press strategy properly, you can optimize your chances of getting successful coverage that launches your business into a well-regarded position.
From an article by Lori Weiss for DocStoc.com