Wondering how to attract media attention? Gaining press coverage is an essential aspect of marketing for small businesses. However, capturing the interest of journalists can be a skill in itself. As journalists, we are bombarded with pitches on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day. Consequently, we have to make quick decisions upon receiving an email or press release.
Luckily, there are proven methods to get your brand noticed by the media. Here are 28 effective ways to obtain media coverage for your business.
Securing media coverage is a crucial step for businesses aiming to expand their reach and establish their brand. To help you choose the most effective strategies, we have outlined the key criteria and ranked their importance on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being less critical and 5 being the most critical. Below, we have listed the most significant criteria we considered when developing the following list.
Understanding the Focus of the Media Outlet
A common issue with most media pitches is that they do not align with what the publication, show, or individual journalist covers. Each media outlet has its own unique style based on its audience. Even if they cover the same news, different outlets will approach it from varying angles. Journalists may also have specific beats or areas of expertise. Therefore, your news must match both the outlet's coverage and the journalist's angle. Familiarize yourself with the outlet by consistently reading, watching, or listening to it.
Opting for Email Communication Over Phone Calls
In today's era, media pitches should primarily be made via email. Avoid the temptation to call, unless you have a specific question. Voicemails take more time to listen to and can be challenging to forward to the right person. Busy editors will often delete long and incoherent voicemails.
Reaching the Correct Contact
A PR professional's value lies in their ability to identify the appropriate contact person. Even within Small Business Trends, we have several editors and writers, meaning an email sent to one may not be seen by others. Alternatively, you can use the main contact form, as media outlets may utilize help desk software that directs communications to the appropriate department based on certain keywords or drop-down menus.
Targeting Regular Features
Does the media outlet have any recurring features? By identifying these regular features, you can increase the chances of having your story published in a print or online publication. Media outlets are constantly searching for subjects to feature in these regular sections. Look for editorial calendars or follow their Twitter feed to identify these recurring features. Furthermore, ensure you adhere to any instructions for submitting to these features. For example, at Small Business Trends, we have a weekly small business spotlight. However, many people overlook the Contact page, which provides instructions for submitting a business for consideration. Instead, they send general email pitches that likely go unnoticed by the editor responsible for that feature.
Establishing Yourself as an Expert
Every three months, send an email notifying media outlets that you are an expert in your field and available for interviews. Being quoted in an article can significantly increase your recognition and that of your business. Editors often save these expert emails for future reference. Additionally, create a page on your website that highlights your expertise on specific topics, making it easier for editors to find you via Google.
Being Easily Accessible
There is nothing more frustrating for a journalist than trying to reach an expert source who is difficult to contact for an interview. Journalists operate under tight deadlines, so it is important to make yourself easily reachable by providing a phone number for media inquiries on your website. Respond promptly to phone calls and, if you are working with a PR professional, make sure to respond to their efforts in setting up interviews for you. Failing to be accessible will deter journalists and media outlets from contacting you again.A Media Resource Center should be established to facilitate media coverage of your business. This center should include a dedicated page with easy access to your logo in both color and black-and-white, screenshots, images of your top products, and headshots of key executives. It is important to include high-resolution versions and provide basic facts and figures about your business. Keep in mind that if your business is not a main part of a story, the editor may choose to remove your business entirely instead of delaying the entire story for missing information.
Engaging with journalists on Twitter is a great way to build connections. Start by following journalists on Twitter and tweeting at them when you have relevant information to share. Make sure to include their @handle in your well-crafted pitch tweet. If the reporters are mobile-savvy, they are likely to receive notifications on their phones. However, it is important to be cautious and not overdo this strategy.
Newsjacking can be used as a way to indirectly associate your business with a breaking news situation. It is important to be discreet in your approach.
Take advantage of the free resources provided by news and trade news websites. Many of these websites offer free events calendars or listings of resources. Submit any special events or information to these listings. News outlets monitor these listings to fill news and feature gaps in their coverage. An attention-grabbing and comprehensive listing from your business may lead to a news story.
Inviting members of the media to attend your special events can enhance their coverage possibilities.
Engaging with the media on Facebook can be done by finding media outlets with active Facebook Pages. Share their stories and comment on their posts to gain attention from their audience. Additionally, make sure to engage with the reporters' own Facebook Pages. This approach is an effective way to grab the outlet's attention since reporters often have their own Pages as well.
Start by reaching out to blogs of media outlets to generate interest and coverage for your business.
Create and maintain an updated roster of media outlets, reporters, and other contacts in the media industry. Separate the lists into local and regional sources, as well as industry-specific ones. Take notes on how to reach specific individuals or the types of stories they typically cover.
Offer exclusives to press outlets in competitive news markets to gain an advantage. However, it is important to be cautious, as this strategy may backfire if the outlets not offered the exclusive feel slighted.
When pitching to a recipient, avoid bragging about other news outlets that have already covered your news. Doing so implies that the recipient is of lesser importance.
Attend community events where the press may be present to establish familiarity with local reporters. Set up a booth at these events to increase visibility and create opportunities for acquaintanceship between your business and the press.
For businesses with products, foster connections with journalists who conduct product reviews. Reach out to them and offer demonstrations, trials, or temporary review copies of your products. However, refrain from offering free products or sending gifts to journalists, as this could violate their employers' ethics rules.A complete press release should include all the necessary information for reporters to write or produce a story about your business. This includes logos, product images, executive headshots, videos, and links to online demos or free trials. It should also provide facts and figures about your company, such as customer count, markets, and office locations. The more comprehensive your press release, the more likely you are to receive coverage.
Sometimes, sending a package by mail with a low-cost promotional item and a personal note can help build relationships with journalists. It is important not to send anything expensive, as many media outlets have ethical rules against accepting valuable items. However, a branded thumb drive or a small branded notepad, accompanied by a personal note, can be memorable without crossing any boundaries.
Being philanthropic and contributing to your community, especially during times of need, can benefit your business. By organizing or donating to charitable drives, you can associate your name and your business's name with something other than your business. When the press covers these charitable endeavors, they often mention the individuals or organizations involved. Getting your name on that list will grab both the media's and the community's attention.
Even after your story has been covered by a specific media outlet or reporter, it is important to stay connected with them. Reporters appreciate having a reliable source they can turn to for information. Sending occasional emails with updates about your business and letting them know you are always available as a source of information will help maintain the relationship.
To effectively communicate with journalists, avoid using buzzwords and technical jargon. While every business has its specific terminology, it is crucial to explain things in plain language that is easily understood by others. Journalists may find it challenging to write about your new tech product if they do not comprehend its purpose or functionality.
Using bullet points in your pitches is a great way to present information that is easy to comprehend. The media prefers quick-hit data and facts that can be consumed by the audience effortlessly. Utilize statistics and concise tidbits in bullet form to effectively convey your points.
Overhyping a story and creating a false sense of urgency will not garner much attention. Similar to the boy who cried wolf, exaggerating a story can damage your credibility in the future.
It is crucial not to harass reporters. There is a fine line between being proactive and becoming a nuisance. If a journalist does not respond or the timing is not right for your story, there may be legitimate reasons for this. Being pushy or obnoxious about your current pitch can cost you future coverage opportunities.
Doing something unique can capture the media's attention. Make a statement with your brand by offering a one-of-a-kind product or implementing eye-catching features in your store's appearance. However, it is essential to clearly articulate what makes your business different. Do not assume that journalists will automatically understand it unless you specifically highlight and explain it.
The media is always interested in facts and statistics. If your business collects data or has insights regarding industry figures, compile it into a research report or index. Regularly update this report and issue press releases around it. Barbara Corcoran, the multimillionaire investor on Shark Tank, gained publicity for her business by creating the Corcoran Report on New York real estate, which included statistics.Businesses can effectively enhance their media coverage by implementing a range of strategies. One approach is to establish a press page on their company website and share any featured stories on social media, while expressing gratitude towards the media outlets. Informing the management about the impact of their coverage can influence future decisions regarding coverage.
Promoting products, obtaining reviews, or hosting events in collaboration with influential individuals within the industry is another effective way to expand reach. This not only attracts attention from the followers of these influencers but also captures the interest of media outlets that monitor influencer activities.
Sharing genuine customer testimonials and success stories can prove advantageous as well. The media appreciates real-life accounts that they can relay to their audience, so highlighting authentic feedback can be highly beneficial.
Planning campaigns or events around significant holidays or niche observance days can significantly increase the chances of media coverage. By tapping into existing conversations, businesses can attract media attention and ultimately secure coverage.
Providing exclusive behind-the-scenes access to operations, such as the manufacturing process or a day in the life of the CEO, can be an enticing pitch for journalists in search of a unique story angle.
Forming partnerships with local businesses or nonprofits to organize joint initiatives or events can generate compelling stories that emphasize community collaboration. Journalists are often drawn to stories that highlight the positive impact on the community, so businesses should emphasize the mutual benefits when reaching out to the media.
Sharing personal anecdotes or stories related to the business journey, challenges faced, or lessons learned can humanize the brand and provide relatable angles for journalists to write about.
Instead of offering regular sales, businesses can create distinctive promotional campaigns that capture attention. Whether themed, linked to a current event, or relevant to the season, the uniqueness of this campaign itself can become newsworthy, thus attracting media attention. For example, businesses can offer a discount to customers who donate toys for charity during the holiday season, instead of a typical holiday discount.