Have you seen your competitors in the media and wondered how you can get some of those column inches or air time? If you want to know how to get your business featured in the media – whether online, print (magazines or newspapers), or broadcast (radio or TV) – you need to understand what journalists are looking for.
Before you find out how to get your startup, SME or larger organisation media coverage, let’s start by looking at the benefits.
Why is it beneficial to get the media to feature your business?
You won’t suddenly get rich and famous after being featured in the media once or twice, but if you integrate media relations into your long-term PR and marketing strategy and plan it can benefit you in all kinds of ways.
Getting featured in the media can help your startup or business:
- Boost your profile and visibility
- Build credibility
- Position you as an expert in your industry
- Promote your products and services
- Increase sales and increase
- Drive traffic to your website and boost SEO
- Attract new talent, employees, investors or partners
- Change consumer attitudes and behaviours
- Manage your reputation and brand perception
- Diversify into different markets or engage with new audiences
How do you get the media to feature your business?
Public relations (PR) agencies and freelancers specialise in helping businesses get into the media (what is PR?). As PR professionals, they’ll understand what makes a news story, how the media works and how to effectively pitch in ideas. But PR agencies charge thousands of pounds – if not tens of thousands of pounds – which a lot of businesses can’t afford, especially in the early days if your resources are restricted.
But there is absolutely no reason why you can’t do your own PR and take steps to get your business into the media.
7 PR tactics to try to get media coverage
- News stories: Got something new to share or a big announcement? A news story in relevant media outlets could be a great way to let your target audiences know all about it. To get news stories for your business, you’ll usually have to write a press release. Find out what a press release is and how to write one (with examples).
- Features: For some magazines and publications, it’s possible to secure an opportunity to write a whole feature, attributed to you. As well as getting a by-line, you’ll get to share your thoughts, insights and experience.
- Comments: Has something happened in your industry or the wider news agenda that you’ve got an opinion on or it impacts you someway? A comment (either written or an interview) could be a great way to show your expertise in this area.
- Interviews: Whether for online, print, radio or TV, interviews are a great way to put a voice and/or face to the people behind the business.
- Product placements: Do you have a product? Pitch to the right sort of publications in the right way and you can get yours featured.
- Events: If you’ve got an event coming up, there are different ways to get featured in the media before, during and after the event (but you don’t necessarily go about it the same way as you would a news story).
- Do something cool: For all the above to work, you and your business have got to stand out. You’ve got to do things in a different, more interesting, entertaining, cooler way than your competitors.
Before you start planning how to get media coverage, if you want to know more about small business PR, here are 7 things you need to know.
How do I get journalists’ attention to help my business get media coverage?
Although there are a few different ways you can get into the media, you need to know how to get the attention of journalists.
- Research: Make sure you understand what content your target media outlet features, as well as the types of business and spokespeople.
- Know your news: Understand what makes a news story and have a general idea of the different types of business news stories you could explore.
- Tailor and target: Don’t just send the same content or stories to hundreds of journalists or media outlets. Make sure you’re as targeted and tailored as possible – journalists prefer bespoke pitches to something that’s been sent out far and wide.
- Complete your content: You need more than just a press release or email pitch. You need a whole content package, in particular a range of high quality photographs. You also need to know what format to send things like press releases, images and other files.
- Be timely: If you’re responding to a media request or trying to comment on something in the news, make sure you act quickly. Otherwise, you’ll lose out to someone else or it becomes old news. Likewise, respect journalists’ deadlines and always get the content they need to them in time. You’ll also need to understand different lead times – i.e. when should you pitch in for features, and when should you send news stories? Having a business press or media pack can help you find the assets and content you need quickly. Find out how to create a press pack for your business.
- Phone v email: Make sure you understand the pressures of the news room and in what situations it’s better to phone or email.
- Short and snappy: If emailing, get to the point and don’t send over too much information. And make sure you have an eye-catching subject header too.
- Know their name: It’s just rude and lazy to not get the journalists’ or editors’ names right when you contact them.
- Help them: If you get an opportunity with a media outlet, go out of your way to help them as much as possible. And a thank you after the article or features has been published always goes down well too.
- Take feedback on board: You won’t get media successes every time. But don’t give up. And if the journalist does kindly give you feedback (although many won’t due to time restraints and sheer volume of enquiries), take it on board for next time.
Twitter is a great tool to use to help you find opportunities to get your business featured in the media. Find out how to use Twitter for PR and media coverage in the free online course.
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