Unless you have a dazzling business concept that is ahead of its time and going to revolutionize the industry, getting featured in some of the top news sites and media channels might not a cake-walk for your brand. But have you ever wondered how much your competitors are investing to get featured on your target platforms?
Once you have a clear understanding of how media works, you can not only help your brand feature but also get profitable eyeballs for free!
How this media works (behind the scene): Getting featured in key publications and portals is simple but significantly different. Reporters create the content that will garner readership, editors massage the content to fit the space available, match the brand personality of the publication and position the publication for strong brand partnerships with prospective and existing advertisers.
So the whole game is to understand how to pitch your brand more effectively to a journalist of leading online magazines/ news sites. Listed below are the key things you need to keep in mind before approaching any print media/ online portal to cover your story:
- Read yourself first: Understand what kind of content they are publishing, what are the brand segments they have covered in their previous stories. For online media and portals try to participate in comments to understand the user response on their stories. This will give you an idea of how to craft your brand story that match with their readership standard.
- Pitch the right thing: Before pitching to an online magazine or blog to publish your story, read their editorial guidelines carefully and offer them a relevant story to their interest. For example- few online magazines might be interested in the tools and problem solving intent of your business than featuring your start-up or the message of your CEO. Similarly for print media its important to understand the kind of publication you are pitching to.
- Identify the right writer: It’s always important to identify the writer with the relevant style and share the best suitable story you want to get published. Also never try to pitch all the writers from the same magazine since some of them could be freelancers and this could create unnecessary conflict and confusion and as a result your story could be trashed.One more thing to keep in mind that every writer is different in any given news outlet. Their writing patterns could be divided depending on the social issues, tech revolutions, startup features or even days of the week. The key here is to choose the most relevant journalist for your story.
- Keep your story short: As you know most of the writers are inundated with story pitches. So instead of sending generic pitches and using same mail format, make it a short with a compelling story to stand out from the crowd.
- Be headstrong but not a pest: I know sometimes journalists miss the first pitch and there is a strong need of gentle reminder with the previous pitch attached in trail-mail. But don’t bombard them with follow-up texts, mails and questions. Keep in mind that PR pitch is like business development so it’s equally important to maintain a good relation with the journalist too.
- Remember HARO (Help a Reporter Out): Put yourself in the shoes of a journalist and always help them. Change your perspective from “write about my client” to “how can I help you do your job well”. It’s always great to be a trusted source of information for a journalist that will eventually help you develop a good relation with that particular online magazine or press.
- Understand the media and journalist first before pitching them your story.
- Think from an editor’s perspective and craft short and meaningful story.
- Take PR as business development and prioritize to build relationship with journalists.
- Be persistent in follow-ups but don’t be a pest