“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” – Seth Godin, American Author and Entrepreneurial Expert
If you’re a small business owner, getting featured in a renowned publication is likely to be a top business goal, and why not? Major press coverage not only boosts the credibility of a business, but it acts as a sign of trust among customers.
However, if you are an owner-only business, or work with a small team, and are not a press-savvy founder like Tim Ferriss, your marketing budget may not allow hefty PR fees for such publications. In this post, we’re going to show you how to get featured on top-tier websites and media platforms without hiring a PR agency.
Create interesting stories
Despite what most people believe, public relations (PR) is not just about self-promotion. The primary intent of every major publisher is to offer exciting content to its readers, so if you’re going to write only about your company, you won’t garner any attention from a potential publisher.
For example, if you’re a boutique consulting firm that works in the retirement planning industry, writing a story about a married couple that was able to gain better control over their retirement through your services is a much better story than a self-promoting piece about your investment products.
Here is what you can do:
- Find topics that interest your target audience.
- Identify publications that your target customers read.
- Find related coverage on these publications and see what they’ve covered until now.
- Once you have identified topics that might be of interest to the publisher, it’s time to pitch your story.
Reporters need good sources as well
Finding a reporter who is interested in your story is a big task, or so you are led to believe. The truth is that reporters are always on the lookout for sources. Having relevant data, expert comments, and verified sources improve the overall credibility of their work.
HARO is one such service that connects reporters with credible sources. You can sign up on its website as a source or a journalist. You’ll receive notifications once a journalist posts a source requirement and their area of interest.
The best part about using an online service like HARO is that you’re connected with a reporter who is already interested in the subject. Some other platforms that offer similar services include Source Bottle, JournoRequests, ProfNet, and Experts.com.
Building relationships with the right media professionals
How do you choose a platform for publication? The ideal strategy is to choose one that your target audience prefers. If you are a small business dealing in hearing aids, getting published in a leading medical journal is much better than getting an article featured in USA Today. Since you’re eyeing specific publications, connecting with the right media professional is critical. Here is what you can do to find the right reporter for your niche.
- Find publications that your target audience reads.
- Create a list of reporters or writers and their contact information. Most of the platforms publish the email address or social handles of the authors/writers. Use an excel sheet to store this information.
- Connect with these journalists online. Focus on building rapport before pitching your story. This includes sharing their content, as well as following and commenting on their social media posts. Asking relevant questions or pointing out an error is another way to grab their attention, but be sure to be polite throughout the whole process.
- Once you’ve come to an understanding, it’s the right time to pitch your story.
How do you pitch your story to the reporter?
Chances are that reporters receive dozens of stories every single day, so you need to work hard to get yours noticed. One of the best ways to do this is to create an outline for your story, add relevant data and industry trends, and finally your solution (how do you solve the problem) and credible sources.
In doing this, you’re essentially saving the reporter’s time and making the story easy to write. In the case of local publications (great PR opportunities for Real Estate firms), it’s even better if you can draft a press release or a story in advance. Local publishers often have limited resources, so having a well-written article improves your chances of publication. It is crucial to be punctual with follow-ups, so make sure to answer any questions promptly.
Always aim to provide value to your readers
One of the best ways to ensure you get featured on multiple platforms is to provide valuable information to your readers. Several entrepreneurs commit the mistake of focusing on profile pieces or news publications only. News provides exposure for a limited period – a week or month at most. Valuable content, with industry insights and actionable tips on industry-specific sites, sticks around a lot longer. If you create good content, people within your industry are going to link your website or publication, giving you maximum exposure.
Here are some easy steps to create good content:
- Cover topics that you’re an expert at. Avoid talking about subjects that you don’t personally understand or have worked on.
- Provide industry insights and follow up with actionable tips. Most newcomers seek hands-on advice, so you can build an immediate following among readers with useful information.
- Avoid excessive self-promotion. Since you’re seeking loyal readers who might turn into prospects, you should focus on the quality of information. It is alright to mention your products or services once or twice, but refrain from blatantly self-advertising.
The Bottom Line
Since you are going to need great press for many years, it is critical to develop relationships. Reporters and journalists are professionals like yourself, so treat them accordingly. Always aim to create long-term relationships and be ready to offer value in return. After all, relationships that benefit both the partners tend to last longer.