Building buzz about your brand should involve more than your advertising campaign. Media coverage in reputable publications, and from influential figures, reinforces your legitimacy and makes people take notice. So how do you get coverage? The first thing to know is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s not as simple as typing up a press release and blasting it to every news outlet you can think of (never try that, by the way). Here are some strategies for crafting a compelling message and getting attention from the right people.
Do your research
It’s highly unlikely that a national fashion magazine would cover a small local restaurant, so who would send them a pitch? When you consider the off-base, off-brand pitches that editors and writers get daily, you realize that the answer is plenty. Before you contact anyone, take some time to familiarize yourself with each publication, and the editors and writers that work for them. If your business doesn’t seem like a natural fit with their coverage areas, move on and save everyone some time.
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Tailor your message
Every day, the inboxes of writers and editors are inundated with press releases and pitches. The volume is so great that, if they even open your message before deleting it, you need to get their attention. They can tell within seconds if they’re reading a form email where their name has been plugged into a generic, impersonal letter sent to dozens of other reporters. Instead, send a thoughtful, brief, relevant message showing your familiarity with their publication, and let them know why your business is worth featuring.
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Send pitches, not just press releases
A pitch is a possible story idea, while a press release is just information about your business. Part of the challenge of getting editors and writers to pay attention to your message is showing them why you’re a good fit for their publication. If you pitch a story that piques their interest, they’ll immediately recognize the possibilities.
Engage in-person or online
Meeting face-to-face is always more impactful than an email dialogue, so invite the media to events you’re throwing, or propose a one-on-one meeting over coffee, lunch, or at their office, which is also known as a deskside appointment. Whether or not you’re able to arrange an in-person meeting, follow writers and media outlets you’re interested in via social media and comment, like, or otherwise engage with them there.
Follow up with editors and writers
If you don’t hear back from an editor or writer within a few days, don’t give up hope and assume they’ve deleted your email. Send a friendly follow-up email to briefly remind them who you are and what your business has planned. They’re getting a ton of emails and phone calls, so they might need you to jog their memory. Don’t go overboard though — if you hound and annoy a writer or editor, you can be pretty sure you won’t get any coverage.
Think beyond high-profile national publications
As the old saying goes, “All press is good press.” The veracity of that statement might be questionable, but it’s true in the sense that you should cast a net wider than a few prominent media outlets. Contact local papers, radio stations, magazines, and blogs to make the most impact.