A three-step guide to gaining meaningful journalistic coverage.
3 min read
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Visibility can often mean the difference between failure and success for small businesses, corporations and entrepreneurs. I love NPR’s podcast, How I Built This, detailing the stories of successful founders. One remarkable thing I’ve noticed is how they all have a breakthrough PR moment. The founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK cold-called a local news outlet and got his strange new company that hauls trash a front-page feature story that put him on the map. Similarly, makeup artist and entrepreneur Bobbi Brown described her hugest “aha” moment as landing a Vogue makeup feature followed by a cover story. Any entrepreneur or business owner can use PR to their advantage if they know how to create winning pitches that result in meaningful coverage. Here are three simple steps to make it happen.
Related: The Do-It-Yourself PR Trend
1. Introduce yourself.
Reporters want to know that you’re truly an expert, so create foundational materials that outline your background and capabilities. Start with your executive bio. Include your name, professional background and experience, education and personal details that bring your story to life. For example, I worked with a debt-relief company whose founder once struggled with debt himself, which gave him the idea for his business. That kind of personal color can make the story come alive.
2. Place your news in context.
Writing a winning PR pitch means placing your news in geographical, historical and industry context to make your business and work stand out. Opening your own law practice is good; opening the first law practice in your city catering to trans rights is better. What makes your story truly unique and newsworthy? This might mean being the first, largest or most sustainable in your field. Perhaps you have a new restaurant reservation app. Would it be fair to call it the biggest tech advancement in the culinary space in 50 years? Do a competitive analysis and highlight the key features and benefits that make you one-of-a-kind.
3. Consider the news cycle.
Knowing when to pitch a reporter is just as important as the idea itself. The good news is that so much about the news cycle is predictable. Think of holidays, evergreen stories and typical human-interest topics. If you’re a marketing expert, could you offer insights on merchandising trends around Black Friday or the holiday season? Is there a news story that's very popular right now that you could serve as an expert source for? Start with a current event, and reach out to reporters who have covered, or are likely to cover, that event. Always keep your communications helpful and positive, and offer to be an expert source for future stories.
The best PR pitches are super clear; when there is no confusion about who you are, what you do and how you can help, you will no doubt make a positive impression. For those who want the benefits of PR but lack the time to work on pitching and media relations, enlist the help of a qualified professional. This is often the fastest way to getting results that increase brand exposure and support marketing and sales objectives. Using these guidelines might well result in your own “aha” moment.