Hundreds of thousands of press release came across my desk in my 25 years as a journalist. It would be safe to say that I hit the delete button for 99% of them.
Journalists cover stories not press releases.
If your idea of PR is sending a journalist a press release about what a great business you have — don’t bother, put your resources to better use.
It is frustrating when you see a competitor being featured in the media when you know that your business is just as good if not better.
They might not have a better business than you but they are better at the business of media.
Here are some insider tips to attracting media coverage for your business:
1. Start with the story.
Look at any news report, feature article or newspaper story. What do they have in common? Most feature a case study:
“The Australian manufacturing sector has taken a significant knock in recent decades, but that has done nothing to deter Gemma Jones from entering the industry. In fact, 31-year-old saw an opportunity she felt others had overlooked.”
Give the journalist the story. Why are you different? What is your background? Who do you help? What is your passion & why are you doing this?
2. Find the right channel:
What are your customers reading and watching? If your customers don’t read the Australian Financial Review then take it off your list.
Do you run a health and wellness business? Then send it to the health editor. Target publications and programmes that feature health stories.
If it is a tech business, send it to the technology editor and look for trade and specialist publications that will be interested in your story.
3. Find the right person:
Once you have the story and have targeted your publications, look for the journalist who is covering similar stories and pitch to them directly.
Most journalists will have an email address on their Twitter feed or LinkedIn profile. Many have a profile on the news organisation website.
If you are planning to send your press release to email@example.com — I wouldn’t bother. The generic email addresses associated with newsrooms are flooded with several hundred press releases every hour.
4. Follow Up:
It is important to follow up with a call or another email within a few days.
They will probably ask you to resend it — this is normal. Don’t be offended if they tell you that they haven’t seen your email, just tell them a bit about what you do and offer to resend. As a journalist, I often received press releases that I thought looked interesting but in the pressure of the daily news cycle, I didn’t have time to follow it up. Having spoken to you, a journalist will take the time to read your email.
5. Understand the urgency:
Always ask the question — what is your deadline? If a journalist gets in touch with you and asks you for a quote, or to feature in a story, get back to them immediately and be available. It is a seriously pressurised industry, journalists need you to be available now, if you say no, they probably won’t contact you again. If you say yes, then you have formed a relationship with them, they have your number and are more likely to call you again and pass your details on to colleagues. Did you ever wonder why the same people pop up as experts all the time? It is because they always say yes.
Having a story, quote or even a mention of your business in the media gives your business more credibility. This third party advocacy can help consolidate your company’s image as a leader in your industry.
If you want to know more about how I can help you to craft your business story contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org