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DOWN AND DIRTY MARKETING: 10 PRESS-GENERATING STRATEGIES FOR NEW COMPANIES
Ever wonder why ‘that’ company seems to get all the media attention - especially when their service doesn’t seem that great?
When you really look at it, it’s clear that it’s not just about what you know or how good you are at what you do.
It’s about your approach.
Pitching to the press is an art, but it’s an art based on a skill that we can all learn to master.
And, it’s well worth the effort to do so, as getting the right kind of press for your company can generate hundreds, if not thousands of new users,
prospects, and customers - seemingly overnight. It’s also critically important for long-term brand recognition and positioning.
But if you’re a new company, how do you set off on the right foot to ensure you generate the
best press coverage?
Start by using these tried and true press-generating tips:
1. Who you know counts
We’ve all heard the old adage: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
And nowhere is that more applicable than when it comes to generating press - who you know really counts.
How many cold calls do you hang up on? What about unsolicited emails that instantly get deleted?
But when someone you know - or that you’re at least familiar with - you open the email to see what they have to say.
This is especially true for the press.
Know who you need to contact and start building relationships from the outset. Connect on social
media sites like Twitter, and be on the lookout for ways to get closer to those contacts.
Journalists, bloggers and influencers in the media space are often underpaid and undervalued. As a result, a great way to get closer to them is to be helpful. If you see something that you know they’ll find useful, send or tweet it to
Further, consider the following tip from Terry Corbell, business coach:
“Journalists are busy and it’s hard to get their attention. Mid-week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays – are the best days to approach them.”
2. Hit the target
It’s no use trying to get your story published in a real estate magazine if you’re trying to sell baby clothes.
Though that’s an extreme example, it’s surprising how many
people get the targeting entirely wrong
. Only aim for publications that really suit your business.
More importantly, identify where your target market hangs out - that’s who you want to be in front
of, after all.
When you get the targeting right, it’s much easier for the publication to see the validity and usefulness of your story.
Simply put, you’re starting off ahead of everybody else who hasn’t mastered this basic step.
3. Be proactive
Derek Halpern, of Social Triggers, suggests a strategy called ‘The Drafting Technique’ - a
strategy he’s used to land major press coverage over the past few years.
It’s based on the idea of the ‘slipstream’ - where race car drivers stick close to the lead driver in order to gain speed and leverage from their position.
Derek explains that, outside the slipstream, there’s often friction between you and getting featured where you want to be in the media or on well-known
In order to reduce this friction, instead of going directly to the media or editor, you need to gain the attention of people who have written for, or been
featured in those media.
Essentially, you need to ride in their slipstream and gain leverage from the person or company in the lead position.
Here’s how to implement The Drafting Technique in three easy steps:
● Figure out what you’d like to promote.
● Find people who are interested in it.
● Persuade those people to cover you.
Step #3 is where you really need to be proactive. It’s no use waiting for people to come to you -
you have to reach out first and find the right people to connect with.
4. Define your story and link it to strong emotions
Here’s a very important principle to abide by
when it comes to generating your press: “Don’t pitch your company - pitch a story.”
Pitching your company, products or services is for advertising. A good story, on the other hand, is how you gain immediate attention with the press.
Journalists have egos
, and they pride themselves on gaining access to exclusive stories. Help them out by thinking of a storyline that makes the ‘story’ behind your product or
could showcase how your products and services provide value to businesses or consumers. Is your company making big changes, creating more jobs, doing
renovations to enable better access to the public? Are you doing something free for the public? Running a free event for business owners?
Any situation can warrant a good story if you get creative and consider how it provides value or targets strong emotional drivers - a common way to maximize the
interest of any story.
But for even better results? Try to create a feel-good story. The media love hearing about things
that have helped people transform their lives in positive ways.
5. Write and deliver a press release
Press releases may seem old school, but they’re still important tools for getting your story in from of some media personnel.
One important thing to keep in mind with press releases is:
“The media is adverse to anything that looks like advertising, they want to educate, entertain, stimulate or provoke their audience."
Again, this really comes back to getting creative with your story
. The better you’re able to convey this in your release, the greater the amount of media attention you’ll be able to attract.
Press releases can also be a great tool for exploiting events,
such as the launch of a new product or service, an anniversary, a new business partnership, or even something as simple as seeing your 1,000th customer
through the doors.
6. Go local
Understandably, it’s generally going to be easier to get your stories featured in local media (think local newspapers and trade magazines, along with local
radio and TV).
According to Media Trust:
The media always want
good local stories, or a local angle on a national story, especially with a human interest.”
See if you can come up with a newsworthy local twist for your story to help get your
foot in the door. For example, is someone within your organization doing something interesting locally? Does your product or service tie in with a local
Whatever the case may be, make sure you’re leveraging it for maximum PR benefit.
7. Pitch more, the right way
Would it surprise you to hear that the media get tired of erratic, long-winded emails?
It shouldn’t. I think we all feel that way from time to time.
Knowing this, however, gives you an advantage. If you present a succinct, well thought out pitch, you’re bound to stand out from the crowd.
Cheryl Connor, founder of a PR strategy agency, shares that out of the hundreds of
pitches she received after an event in Las Vegas, she only responded to one: It was the shortest, most direct, straight to the point pitch that got her
Pitching is all about being articulate and getting your message across in a clear, concise, and constructive manner.
A good pitch
presents a strong headline, a brief two sentence introduction, a few bullet points with short descriptions, and notes why it will be good for the media
Be on target with the media outlet, read or listen to their current content and prior stories. Don’t pitch your company - pitch a story, and remember, get
straight to the point.
8. Hold a fundraiser
do take time and effort to organize, and they can be expensive to carry off. But if your product or service aligns well with an organization you can
support, fundraisers can be a great way to drive publicity.
One strategy to try is to support an organization that will also gain the immediate attention of your target audience.
Of course, your fundraising efforts should be genuine and invested in with utter integrity. But if you can organize a great event - and tie it with a good
emotional story - the press is going to eat it up.
As I mentioned earlier, the press loves a feel good story.
9. Raise your profile
According to Entrepreneur, one secret to attracting interest from a reporter is to position
yourself as an expert.
And it just so happens that we all have the perfect platform for achieving this - the web.
Catriona Pollard, PR consultant, shares that “the
more you use PR and social media to put yourself forward as an expert, the more credible your own profile becomes.”
Think about it this way… If you invest in building your online profile so that the size
of your online network - and your perceived authority - grows, you’ll find that your ability to secure press attention increases proportionately.
There’s also blogging.
Marketing statistics from Hubspot
reveal that “79% of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for marketing and gaining more publicity.”
Essentially, your blog is your own media platform, and sharing consistent quality information is one of the best ways to establish both your
personal expertise and your company brand.
Still not convinced?
as young as 24 years old are ditching their 50K jobs and using their blogs to do it.
Need I say more?
10. Use Leverage
Shopify reports that “ 92% of buyers trust
recommendations and products from people they know, and 70% trust opinions and reviews they find online.”
There are already influential people, websites, and bloggers out there who have your audience engaged. You just need to get on the inside and use leverage to get in front of their audience.
This is similar to what Derek Halpern recommends with the Drafting Technique, but with an influencer marketing twist.
MarketingLand provides a few tips on successfully making these connections. But essentially,
it all boils down to reaching out to the right people with an introduction and a personalized email.
Pitch a story aligned with their audience and goals, and be sure to engage them in a conversation on why and how it’s going to benefit their audience.
If you can clearly, concisely demonstrate the benefit to both parties, you may be invited to contribute an article to their blog, be mentioned in their
newsletter or be called out on their social profiles.
Whatever the case may be, your business will benefit from the increased visibility.
But don’t stop there. There really are endless, irresistible PR ideas you can use to generate
ideas that’ll help get your company front and center with your audience.
Sit down with your team and brainstorm interesting story and angles to pitch. Then, be consistent and proactive. With time and effort, the media will come
Have another strategy to add to this list? Share your favorite PR moves - as well as the impact they’ve had on your business. Share it by leaving a comment on our LinkedIn page
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