If you’re a small business owner, chances are, you’ve invested a lot of your own personality into your company. Good news: this puts you at an incredible PR advantage when you approach the press. Leveraging personal zeal is key to capturing the media spotlight.
But how exactly does one do this?
The trick is, there are no tricks. The more genuine you are, the better. Introduce your brand to reporters as you would an esteemed colleague or friend. When doing your own PR, a down-to-earth and honest approach will help soften the whole affair and help you shake off any anxieties about trying to be something you’re not. Always remember: authenticity opens doors.
Choose storytelling versus sales. There’s a reason why used car salesmen get a bad rap. The blatant sales-y approach creates distrust. Nobody wants another advertisement in their inbox or an earful of jargon at a networking event. Odds are, you and your business have a unique story. Tell that story! Then use statistics and data to support your story in your pitch.
Do your homework! I can’t stress this enough. Nothing is less professional than pitching a story to an editor, producer, or reporter that has little to do with their area of interest. It’s even worse when you know next to nothing about the person you’re pitching is. Doing your research, knowing who you’re pitching, and being prepared is 75% of getting a media hit.
I suggest you do this by reading the last few editions of the publication you’d like to be featured in (if you’re not reading it already). Reading the stories written by the journalists you’re pitching will ensure you know whether your story is a good fit. Then, when you reach out with your pitch, you can offer informed insights or feedback on a relevant article, especially if doing so provides a segway to the story you’re pitching. And ensure your subject line captures the essence of your story in the most succinct way possible.
Know your industry. Though you might know your own business inside and out, do you know your industry just as well? Staying on top of current issues and remaining knowledgeable about your industry is imperative when the mic is on and the cameras are rolling. The more you can speak as an expert about your industry (and do ensure any special qualifications you have are highlighted in your story pitch) the more you’ll be likely to be called on by media to comment in future.
Rub elbows with influencers – on and offline. Of course, attending industry events is an excellent way to get in front of key influencers – but don’t limit yourself to in-person occurrences. There’s a whole world wide web out there! As part of your PR prep, be sure to review relevant blogs, online publications, social pages and industry forums, and comment and participate on these platforms. This is an authentic way to create a reputable voice for you and your brand, and it will help you gain media credibility as you start pitching.
Get social. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are fantastic platforms to approach a writer or editor, alongside your email pitch. You’ll stand out from the typical inbox noise and create an opportunity to deliver your message in an engaging way.
There are many ways to stand apart and convey your message without putting someone to sleep with an 800-word email: Create a BTS launch video or deliver exclusive product photos or branded gifts. Let your brand’s persona shine with engaging, yet informative content.
Whether you’re chasing your first media hit or you’re looking to announce a new, exciting aspect about your company, we wish you luck. And if you do decide you need some help, feel free to get in touch!