Getting featured in the media will help you boost brand awareness. Follow these tips and strategies on how to get media coverage for your business.
If you want to be successful as a company – or even as a personal brand – one thing that will help you reach your goals is being featured in the media.
How do you make this happen?
I’ve written stories featuring more people and companies than I could possibly count for outlets big, small, and super niche, over the years (and been featured in a few), so I’m in a pretty good position to help you figure this out.
It helps to have a dedicated PR person for your brand, but not everyone can afford that, and that shouldn’t put you out of the running. Here are 11 tips and steps on how to get media coverage for your business.
Make friends with members of the media before you need them
Before you want to appear in the news, you should be building connections with media. In every area of life, you’ll be more successful if you have existing friends and connections who can help you in that area. Grow your network and create relationships based on mutual interest rather than your need for coverage. When the time comes to ask, they will be more likely to give you what you need.
Research the appropriate media outlets and contacts
There is a LOT of media out there and a your story isn’t going to appeal to everyone. You don’t pitch a software story to a fashion blogger or a story about nail polish to an immigration reporter, unless the nail polish has something noteworthy about it and was created by a refugee, but even then it depends on the journalist and the outlet. Do you want to reach local media? Industry media? Global media? All of these? Great. Find the right people, in the right departments, at the right outlets. Don’t just blast everyone.
Think about what you have to offer, rather than what you want to get
Also like other things in life, you’ll be more successful if you have something to offer and aren’t always on the take. Media has needs just like you do. They need content that people will want to read and that will help the media company towards its goal of generating revenue, through ads, subscriptions, or another model. So, “Can you help me get my company in the media so I can make money?” is a much less appealing pitch than “Here’s a useful insight or cool story that will appeal to your target audience.”
Do something newsworthy
And so, your best way to get in the media is to do something newsworthy. What does your company do – with its products and services, hiring practises, workplace culture, CSR initiatives, or something else, that nobody else does and that is worth talking about? If you can’t think of anything, start thinking about what you can do – and then do it.
Mine your data
One way to be newsworthy is to mine your data or do your own market research. People love numbers. Say you are an education software company and you have data showing that 60% of homeschooled children have significantly better math comprehension than children who attend brick and mortar schools. Or data showing that adjunct learning tools improve test scores by 75%. Those are interesting bits of data around which you can craft stories. You can also poll your customer base. Maybe you’ll find that 80% of homeschooling parents were bullied as children or find that their family relationships have significantly improved since using your service. I don’t know. It’s your data. You mine it.
Ride a news wave, also known as “newsjacking”
Newsjacking is the practice of adding your insight or opinion on something that is already happening in the news. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has created countless opportunities for this. Spokespeople for companies selling wellness services, home entertainment, and products and services that facilitate remote work are just some of those who have had the opportunity to step into the spotlight.
Take advantage of holidays and special dates
Keep an eye out for your time to shine, whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, Easter, Valentine’s Day etc. Again, data mining can be useful here. If you’re running that education software company we talked about above, and you can show that kids who believe in Santa Claus get better grades than those who don’t, that’s a fun and interesting story. (Can someone please do that research? Thanks).
Use social media
Shout your accomplishments. Make a big deal out of your successes. Connect with people. Social media is one of the best ways for people to find you. If opinions and thought leadership are things you want to share, position yourself as an expert on Twitter and LinkedIn and tweet and post your opinions.
Craft press releases
Create press releases and post them to your blogs and websites and on your social media. Send them to relevant people at relevant outlets. You don’t need to pay for distribution services, though if that is in your budget you can do that too.
Personalize your communications
Remember how we talked about building relationships beforehand? Now that you have something newsworthy to share, and you have already made some friends, you’re in a position to reach out to those connections and say “Hi Rebecca! How’s the fam? Hope that old football injury isn’t giving you too much grief. I’d love to tell you about this amazing thing we’re doing…” and attach the press release. If Rebecca doesn’t have a space for your story, maybe she knows someone who does. This is much better than sending a mass mailing of a media release, because most people don’t even read those. But they might read it if they know you.
HARO, an acronym of Help a Reporter Out, is a FREE Cision service that allows journalists to source quotes and insight from experts through a mailing list of queries. Sign up and start reading the queries. There might be something for you any day of the week. Reporters are looking for quotes all the time about all kinds of topics, – from healthcare to tech to food and beverage, business, finance, parenting, fashion and much, much more. Find a place where your opinion might be of value and send a pitch. In many cases the journalists get a lot of response, so you might not get in but keep trying. Read more about how it works here.
Teach – don’t sell
At the end of the day, what you want to be is useful and that is best accomplished through providing insight and education, sharing your knowledge, and keeping the selling on the back burner. Resist the urge to plug your products and services to journalists, and focus instead on how you can help. If I want to interview someone on how to find the best kitchen designer, and you are a kitchen designer, resist the desire to list the reasons why you are the best, and give a list of criteria to look for. There are always exceptions, of course. Like if someone is making a holiday gift list and you want to pitch your product for it, do that. Just make sure you’re offering the right pitch at the right time.
If you position yourself as the expert who is generous with knowledge and insight, people will come to you. It takes time and patience but you can do it.
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