How to get your PR in front of the journalists…and why you need PR
Get to know the journalists:
If you can. Some of your work may involve you socialising with them and if it does, do start a conversation, build a relationship and chances are, they will come to you for stories in the end.
Read the titles you want to be in:
Find out what their content is, what they write about and think about how your business can fit in. What story could you offer them that would sit well with what they already cover? Can you add something new, or can you offer a follow-up to something that’s been done before? For example – they’ve been across a story on a school that’s opened specifically for children with behavioural problems because the founder couldn’t find anything suitable for her children. Your follow up, if you’re a Confidence Coach, could be to offer an interview or editorial piece on children’s confidence and how this shows through behaviour, plus how confidence coaching can have a positive effect.
Find the journalists on social media:
Follow them and start to make conversations. Feel free to ask them what their editorial schedules are. Perhaps they have a supplement coming up, or a theme for each month – once you know, you can see what you can offer them to be included.
Many are freelancers and get paid per story or feature, so they are keen to have good ideas for stories put in front of them – it saves them time looking around for something!
Submit your stories:
If you can get a decent press release together which includes the details of your story, some great info, a good quote and a handful of good quality photos, you will stand a chance of getting it into your local paper or even business/industry press. Make sure you offer them the chance to speak with you, come and see you and anything else they need too. Newsdesks just don’t have the time to send reporters out on jobs anymore. They’re sitting at their desks doing it all via email and phone, rather than getting out there. There also isn’t much budget for photographers, so even if you invited them to your event, they probably haven’t got a reporter or snapper to send!
Don’t expect a journalist to come to your event, unless of course, you have someone super famous there! They don’t turn out for much so don’t be disappointed, just send them your press release and photos within a couple of days after your event (any later and it’s regarded as ‘elderly’) and they will then have all they need to include it in their publication without having been there.
Squeeze a lot out of one PR!
Once you’ve got your PR published, there are many benefits. Even if you don’t get it published, don’t waste it – squeeze all the use out of a PR by uploading it to your website, using it as a blog, turn it into a vlog, then promote it on social media, linking back to your website, include it in a mailshot to relevant clients. One PR can go a very long way!
Benefits of PR:
Cost-effective way of reaching a large audience
Reach more of your target audience
Existing clients see you – they may come back
Confidence – people see you are doing well and confidence increases
Trust – people trust more in an objective source rather than paid-for advertising
Downside of PR:
Direct control – you do lose direct control when you release a PR. With paid-for advertising, you sign it off. With editorial you don’t – and reporters can make a few changes to how the PR was originally sent to them but they do work to the rule of not changing things to then make it wrong or mis-reported.
No guaranteed coverage – your PR may go nowhere. But, if you have followed the above about getting a good story idea out there in a clear PR, this shouldn’t happen!
Evaluation – You can count up all the clippings and coverage, but it’s very hard to know the direct measurable effect of PR. So if you like stats, this will be a little hard to swallow!
How can my PR help you?
Next week – Crisis Communications. What will you do if something happens that affects your business’s reputation? How will you handle it, what will you say?