You’ve got an amazing new product or service (or maybe your company’s just all-around amazing!) Either way, you want to get the word out.
There’s just one problem: nobody’s listening.
For the most part, you’re talking into space. You’ve got your blog posts or social media content –but it’s mostly just you, talking about yourself. Sure your word may be credible, but no one else knows that. The truth is you need validation. You also need to get the message out further than you could on your own.
You need your story to get picked up by the press.
But how can you garner attention and add credibility to your story?
In this round-up, we’ll take a look at advice from the pros. Find out what founders and CEOs have used to get their own companies and products, into the news.
Discover strategies that could help you to get your company picked up by the press –and noticed!
- Build Solid Working Relationships
“The best way to secure media coverage is by building relationships with the people who give that coverage,” says John Doherty, CEO and founder of Credo, a network of vetted SEO and digital marketing providers.“Media coverage is a big deal and journalists are very careful to only promote those who are actual authorities with verifiable information,” he continues. How can you become that person? By being at the forefront of their minds because of your relationship with them.
John’s second piece of advice involves developing a working relationship with a PR firm; one that specializes in media placements. “They keep an ear to the ground on opportunities for me to contribute to and then float them into my inbox with a specific ask that I am then able to respond to.”
- Find a New Angle
“Think outside the box,” says Annette Densham, award-winning entrepreneur, journalist, and director at branding and marketing firm, The Audacious Agency.
When it comes to getting coverage, you’re going to need to do a little bit of research to figure out what’s already been covered, and to find the story gaps –what hasn’t been said and how you can add value to the media you’re pitching to.
“Think about what you do differently,” Annette says. “Journalists want to inform and educate their audience and giving them something they’ve not covered before makes their audience happy. No one wants to keep seeing the same old, same old. By offering a twist on a current topic, you stand out as being a thought leader.”
Annette recommends doing homework before reaching out.
“There’s nothing worse than getting story pitched to you that shows the business person has never ever read or listened to anything you. Take time to research your intended media target – follow the journalist on Twitter and LinkedIn, get to know their style and the types of stories they cover. When you do pitch the story, they can see you’ve not just taken the scattergun approached and Bcc’d everyone in your media list.”
- Be Social: Connect Before You Contact
“Get social with journalists on Twitter and LinkedIn,” says Crystal. “Some of my best media placements for clients began by starting up a conversation with a journalist on Twitter after sharing one of their recent articles.”Can’t track down someone’s email? Crystal recommends sending a Twitter DM if their DMs are open or taking to LinkedIn and send them an In Mail.
“With a premium account, you can send In Mails to those you are not connected with and it’s been a powerful way to get in touch with highly sought after journalists and editors whose email inboxes are likely flooded,” she explains.
How do you break the ice?
“Sometimes it’s as easy and as sending them a DM or In Mail to let them know you’d like to send them something you think they will be interested in,” explains Crystal. “You can also ask them for the best email to reach them. When they offer up their address, they’ll be keeping an eye out for your incoming email and are more likely to open and acknowledge it.”
- Get Guerrilla With Your Marketing
“I discovered early on that in a very saturated startup space, it’s crucial to make a splash,” says architect-turned-entrepreneur, Lori Cheek. Lori, who is the founder and CEO of dating-app, Cheekd, recommends taking a deliberately different approach –one that’s drastic enough to get noticed.“Creative marketing quickly became my forte. Not only has it paid off tremendously, it’s been loads of fun,” she says.
This approach has helped Lori to end up featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Inc., and more.
“One of my favorite stories was from Dublin’s Web Summit when over 800 startups were exhibiting,” says Lori. “I decided to stand out by wearing Angel Wings throughout the conference.”
Later on, while checking out of her hotel, Lori looked down at a copy of the Irish Times lying on a table. On the front cover was an image of Judy Dench –with Lori and her angel wings right beside her! Inside the magazine was a write-up that mentioned her business. Needless to say, Ireland learned about Cheekd.com that day.
- Go Where the Reporters Are
Speaking of guerrilla tactics, here’s one that you may not have thought of before: putting Facebook ads to a slightly different use.
“When you are trying to get press, consider targeting the writers at newspapers and magazines with Facebook ads,” says Gary Nealon, e-commerce expert, serial entrepreneur and founder of The Rox Group; a collection of companies which includes Nealon Solutions, Carrier Pigeon Effect, Sidekicks, and digital currency, Usawa.
“It might require a special event, but when we used to give away a house in conjunction with some real estate partners we had, we would get the TV and newspaper writers to show up by running highly targeted ads that told them about a story they should be covering.”
Gary also recommends heading over to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to get your name into well-known publications that would otherwise be difficult to break into.
“Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out to get emails three times a day filled with reporters and writers seeking sources for articles they’re working on,” Gary says. “Simply reply with your expert knowledge and advice and boom! You can potentially get media coverage in some of your industry’s biggest publications. This is also a great way to get to know journalists and identify writers and publications for future pitches.”
- Be Relevant AND Interesting
“Get feedback,” advises Craig Wolfe, President of CelebriDucks –a company that creates ducks that resemble well-known celebrities –and had the honor of being voted one of the 100 gifts by Entertainment Weekly.
“Run your campaign by people who you really, really trust. If they aren’t excited by it, it’s not going to be of much interest to a reporter either.”You want to make sure your story or product isn’t just interesting to you, but something that’ll resonate with a large audience. Otherwise, no reporter will use it.
Remember, Craig advises, “It’s not about you, it’s about the reporter’s audience.”
“Have a great story. People love that, but you want to have a story that leads them to find out more and if it’s an engaging release, they will naturally WANT to find out more. It’s not just about your product or service that gets you the great PR, it’s all about a great engaging and inspiring story.
Don’t think you have one? Actually, Craig says, most everyone does. “The key is how to make it come to life. Find what will inspire others in your story.”
At the end of the day, you should always dare to be different. “You must stand out from the pack. Make it clear why you stand out and why it’s a cool story for a reporter to share with their fans.”
- Do Something Outrageous
Finally, if all else fails, there’s nothing like a little outrageous comedy to get the media’s attention.“I did a caricature of (two well-known marketing experts) as a joke and it was a HOT commodity,” says Casey Slaughter Stanton, founder of CMO Exponential –a team of marketing and communications experts.
“I hired a cartoonist on Fiverr and had them create a gag gift: both of them together in a bathtub,” Casey continues. “That image got posted at a couple of Genius Network meetings, on Facebook in front of my ideal customer many times, and talked about when I was in the room. $50 investment for a BIG payoff.”
From traditional approaches to taking matters into your own hands, when it comes to getting picked up to the press –there are loads of different ways that you can get your company noticed. At the end of the day, though, remember: it largely comes down to two simple things: getting a journalist’s attention, and giving them a reason to share your story.
By being alert for opportunities and even creating your own when the need arises, you’ll soon be well on your way toward generating press coverage—and getting your company the publicity that’s so essential for standing out in today’s news-saturated world.
Have you had a big win with the press? Share what worked for you! We’d love to hear it!