Use PR Tactics To Get On The News

get-on-the-news

One of the fastest ways to build buzz around your brand is to get a great news story written about you. With media attention, a broader audience gets a chance to know you, connect with you, and view you as a legitimate force. People look to third-party sources to get the real scoop on what you can do for them. So, make PR (public relations) an important part of your branding strategy. And work hard to keep the media interested in sharing your story.

Here are 10 PR tips to help get your brand in the news:

  1. Identify your targets- Create a list of media outlets (magazines, newspapers, blogs, radio & TV outlets) that feature stories about your industry, location, and area of expertise. Fine-tune your media list by focusing on those that appeal to the audience you’re trying to reach.
  2. Study their work- Get familiar with the type of stories they produce. Check out their structure, and their various sections/segments.  Think about where your story would naturally fit in, and identify the journalists who cover those sections. Add their names to your media list, so you can work on getting on their radar.
  3. Find contact info- You can sometimes find a journalist’s contact information right on their company’s website. But when you have to search harder, turn to Google and start digging. If you have a PR professional in your network, ask them to pull contact information from their media directory. Or, call the news organization’s main number and asked to be connected. Be resourceful.
  4. Shape your message- If a journalist called you today, what would you say? Shape your words, and decide what key messages you want to convey. Be prepared to make your pitch and sell them on why your story is the perfect fit for their audience. Write down a list of questions a journalist might ask and perfect your answers, so you’ll be ready to shine.
  5. Prepare press materials- Make sure your press materials (press releases, bios, pitch letters, etc) are buttoned up and ready to go.  If you don’t have the writing skills to create these documents, find someone who does. Journalists quickly glance at your press materials, to see if your story is worth their time.  So, make your documents compelling.  You may also want to distribute your press releases through a newswire service, so journalists can find you when they’re online searching for story ideas.
  6. Prioritize your list- Before you start pitching, divide your media lists into three groups: (A) top tier, (B) standard, and (C) easy access. Unless you have breaking news or an exclusive story… reach out to your “C” contacts, first. This gives you a chance to practice your pitch before you move up to the big wigs. It’s worth noting that—having your story in smaller/local/niche outlets is a great way to build buzz and get bigger outlets to notice you. So treat all journalists with love!
  7. Choose your approach- Don’t rely on one point of contact. There are many ways to reach journalists. Besides email, you can call to introduce yourself, mail your press kit, invite them to lunch, converse on Twitter, etc… Take advantage of the different ways to make yourself known, build rapport, and build interest for your story.
  8. Personalize your greeting- Never send mass messages to journalist. Dear Editors— is never okay. That’s an easy way to get ignored. Take time to personalize your message. Show that you understand the type of stories their audience expects, and explain how what you’re pitching is a perfect fit.
  9. Respect their time- When you get a journalist on the phone, don’t just blurt out a longwinded speech about how they should feature you. First of all, they don’t know enough about you to take you seriously.  And, they may be in the middle of something, on a deadline, or just too busy to absorb what you‘re saying. Briefly introduce yourself. Ask if you can send them information about: insert your crafty pitch here. Tell them how their audience will benefit from a story like that. Make yourself available for any questions they have. Then, let them go.
  10. Follow-up promptly- Immediately after getting the green light to email, mail or drop off additional information…. Do it! Journalists are inundated with hundreds of new pitches every day. Send your goods right away, and follow up the next day, then again later in the week to pique their interest in your story. Don’t forget to ask them for a convenient time to call back, so you can stay on top of mind without being annoying. Show that you’re a responsive, accessible and newsworthy resource, and you may land yourself the feature story you’ve been waiting for.

I’m a strong believer that great brands ultimately attract news. But—that doesn’t mean you should sit around waiting for journalists to find you.  Make media outreach an important part of your branding strategy. And, make journalists want to share your story- by keeping your brand hot!

If you already use PR to promote your brand, tell us what you do to get your brand in the news? Share your tips below…

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