Every business craves media attention and press. Most want it and know they need it — they just don’t have the connections or manpower to drum up media coverage. If you’re a startup it’s even tougher to afford the retainer of a PR agency.
Quality media coverage of your business can help you scale, enhance your reputation and put you on the map within the investment community. So, rather than wishing you had a larger marketing budget, use these five tips to generate press exposure.
Target key media outlets and journalists.
You don’t have time to send a blanket media pitch to every reporter or journalist you track down. Even if you had all the time in the world, it’s a highly ineffective strategy.
Create a list of the top 10 to 25 media outlets that you’d like to feature your product or service. Once you have identified target outlets, connect with the right journalist at each outlet that covers your specific beat or industry. Read their work, comment on their stories and follow them on social media.
Establish a relationship via Twitter.
Since news always breaks first on Twitter, most journalists are very active on the platform. You are also more likely to get a response via Twitter, rather than an email, because questions and replies are short and to the point — the 140 character limitation requires it.
Don’t just fire off a link to a press release or attempt to pitch before a relationship is established. Journalists get this all day long. Instead, establish a relationship so when you do reach out, your tweet stands out. Retweet their content and reply to some of their tweets, but be genuine. This isn’t a one-and-done strategy. You want to build a long-term relationship and it isn’t an overnight process.
Use data as press-bait.
There are thousands of startups and small businesses vying for a select number of media outlets and their attention. The only way you are going to secure coverage is by standing out.
Create data-rich content to include with your pitch (i.e., study highlights, infographic, etc.). Visualizing data makes your press pitch much more interesting. That extra piece of content can make the difference between a pass and a bite.
Avoid using the same pitch with every journalist.
Every single reporter and journalist can spot a copy/paste job within seconds; they get pitched around the clock every day with generic requests. Make your pitch completely personalized and tailored specifically to them and their media outlet.
You are more likely to receive a favorable response if they sense your request is genuine and isn’t part of a blanket pitch. Also, don’t simply change the name and media outlet. If you mistakenly send a request to someone at TechCrunch, but the pitch says how much you love reading Mashable, you risk blacklisting your business. Don’t be lazy: if you want results, put in the effort.
Your pitch shouldn’t sound like a press release.
When was the last time you read a press release that blew your socks off? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess your answer: “not in a very long time, if ever.”
Most press releases are boring fluff composed of a few company statistics mixed in with equally boring quotes. If you craft your pitch to sound like a press release, don’t expect a response. A short pitch packed with details that gets right to the point wins every time.
While every business is going to require a specialized pitch for their brand, these tips can help you gain traction and garner that ever elusive media exposure.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Jonathan Long is the founder and CEO of Market Domination Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in creative outside the box branding campaigns designed for aggressive online growth. Connect with him on Twitter. Jonathan also founded EBOC, an exclusive private community for entrepreneurs and business owners. Connect with @mdmjonathan on Twitter.
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