Looking to get news coverage or PR for your service or product?
- Think about the reporter’s audience. When pitching your own stories, keep in mind the question every reporter and news editor is silently asking: “Will my audience care about this story? If so, why?” Get familiar with the kinds of stories your target news outlets publish, and tailor your own press releases accordingly.
- Anticipate trends in your field of expertise and the larger implications of those trends. In other words, be on the forefront of news whenever possible instead of chasing it. Show how this new trend will affect the readers of the publication.
- Be the odd man out. If a story breaks and everyone in the media is in lockstep on what this story means, take the opposite view. If a reporter is looking for something different or even just to balance out their own story, they will be anxious to talk to you. Note: Be sure you can back up your point view with facts or examples.
- Know what a reporter has written before approaching them. Tell them you enjoyed their article on propagating ferns when you pitch them an idea to write about the exotic plants you’re selling by mail. A little honest flattery and attention goes a long way to getting your own free publicity.
- Forget small talk. Are you calling a reporter to pitch your story? Or is she calling you to get your perspective? Get to the point. The reporter will appreciate that you respect they’re under a deadline.
- Do the reporter’s work for them. When you send out a press release, make it read like a story in the newspaper. You’ll be surprised how many times they will print it just as you wrote it.
Sometimes your stories will be picked up, other times they won’t. It may take time to get recognized as an expert reporters can call on – simply continue to get your name out there. Have fun with this. You may find it slow going at first, but persistence pays off.
The more publicity you get, the more you will get because publicity begets publicity. Something you do today such as sending out a press release or making contact with a reporter may not pay off for days, weeks or even months. But as long as you are offering newsworthy stories and/or expert help in your niche, continuous effort nearly always gets rewarded.