Any business owner would love to have their business mentioned in the media. That is why many hire public relations agencies or have their own in-house PR professional. But if you need to do it yourself, here are six tips that are (almost) guaranteed to score you press coverage.
Pick your target
Target a specific publication or journalist with a corresponding area of interest. By appealing to a writer’s existing passion point, you’re far likelier to get a foot in the door. If you’re not sure where to start, head to Google – a simple topic search will quickly reveal the names of journalists who regularly cover it.
Dive a little deeper by trawling through their Twitter accounts, identifying views and areas of interest, and crafting your story to appeal to these.
By offering your story as an exclusive, you have a far greater chance of success. Rather than emailing your pitch, give the editor a call and ask for their input upfront, so that you can expertly craft your story in line with their suggestions. That way, you’ll ensure that when your story arrives in their inbox, they’re expecting it.
Work the calendar
It might feel contrived to use occasions like Valentine’s Day and Christmas to score coverage for your brand, but the reality is that journalists are hard pressed for seasonally-specific content over these periods.
For instance, if you’re a Property brand, you might want to consider an article focusing on tips for couples looking to buy their first home together.
Another way is to request a copy of your targeted publication’s editorial calendar, which will identify the topics to be covered over the course of the year. By writing a story specifically for a planned feature, you have a good chance of success.
While being credited as the sole purveyor of expert insight in an article is undoubtedly first prize for any business, the reality is that journalists prefer an unbiased story with multiple sources.
By pitching a story angle and offering up multiple spokespeople able to add further insight, you are making a journalist’s life easier by basically doing their job for them.
Yes, you might have to share the headlines with one of your rivals, but by positioning yourself as a collaborative force, you’ll better position your business to be seen by the right types of readers, and start establishing your brand as a go-to source of industry insight.
Curate local content
Journalists in Africa are starved of local statistics, having to rely heavily on facts and figures from abroad to substantiate their stories. As such, local research findings are highly sought after by media outlets, so if you can supply your own, you’ll be able to get positive media coverage. It will also help to establish you as a credible, well-respected industry leader.
Use the news in your favour
By keeping close tabs on current events and providing stories in line with a topic currently occupying the news agenda, you’ll be in a great position to score some high impact wins.
For instance, with the 2016 Rio Olympics around the corner, and you just so happen to be a security company, you can give safety tips to those attending the Summer Olympics. There you’ve got the perfect angle to hook your story on.
Ronelle Bester is owner of Red Ribbon Communications.
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