Increasing press coverage is a great way to get your name out there and promote your brand. To get picked up by credible publications and popular websites, PR efforts have to go beyond blanketing the media with a standard press release. Like all good marketing, the best PR strategies require planning, targeting, collaboration, and great messaging. Follow these 7 tips to get the love you want from the press and maximize your PR impact.
Start by answering, “What is the ultimate goal?” Whether you’re driving sign-ups for a conference, introducing a new product, announcing strategic partnerships, or trying to get buy-in from investors, it’s important to know exactly what you’re trying to gain from press coverage. Without beginning with a goal in mind it’s easy to lose focus and difficult to measure results. Having a clear goal is the best foundation for a solid PR campaign.
Find the most popular blogs and publications that concentrate on your industry or target your same audience. Compile a list of journalists who monitor and write about your industry and become familiar with their recent articles and how they angle their stories. Find out who is covering your competitors and how they are being positioned. When you reach out, use the info you’ve gathered to deliver a story that relates to topics they normally write about, angles that will interest them, and stories most valuable to their audience. Similar to anything we do in marketing, it’s extremely important to know your audience.
PR is a long-term game. Don’t just focus on getting one story published, but instead strive to create relationships with the media to optimize the coverage you receive. While some journalists and editors may only want to communicate via email, when possible, get on the phone because that’s where the best relationships are formed. Be respectful, direct, and help them do their jobs: never treat them like they’re a means to an end. Once you’ve developed rapport, you should maintain it by sending them relevant press releases, or giving them exclusive quotes or the opportunity to be the first to break a story. An easy and discrete start would be to follow your favorite reporters on Twitter and other social networks to share some of their pieces.
When approaching a reporter or blogger about your company, remember that their job is to write things that other people will want to read. It’s not to market your organization, so pitching news that’s too sales-y will likely backfire. You need to think of potential story—or even better, stories—that your target audience would want to read and just happen to include your company. If your organization hasn’t gained widespread brand recognition, consider pitching stories on hot news and trends in your industry or product space.
Most publications—from newspapers to blogs to radio programs—operate under extremely tight deadlines. While developing relationships, ask about their editorial calendar upfront so you can time your pitches well. Answer emails immediately, and exchange cell phone numbers so you get in touch quickly. Above all, be responsive.
Create a press kit with your brand assets, like logos, images, and essential documentation. Include relevant statistics, quotes, and other information media contacts would find useful. Many people utilize a cloud digital asset management platform for this. With DAM, your press kit is easy to create and maintain. Set-up public access so reporters can get what they need quickly. Providing brand assets for the media also helps control how people are talking about your brand online.
Sometimes, you can talk your way into a story that the writer or editor wouldn’t initially think is a good fit. However, you’ll risk alienating those contacts and, if you’re too aggressive, you may burn the bridge completely. Just follow all of the above points and you’ll soon get the coverage you’re looking for. Be sure to stay focused on your goal and keep developing those relationships.