In the era of the Kardashians and Donald Trump, everyone knows it’s crucial to toot your own horn as often (and as loudly) as possible. Of course, gaining press is a catch-22: you need more coverage because you’re not well-known, and you’re not well-known because you’re not splashed across the front pages.
Not all is lost, however. Even if you don’t have a big name, it is possible to get more press and make media connections on your own. You just have to know where to look.
You can easily determine who the editors of different publications are just by doing an advanced LinkedIn search. Search by company and position. For example, type in “Business Insider” and “editor.” You’ll see exactly how you’re connected to them – you might even know somebody who already has a connection to them. If not, then target them in a strategic way by interacting with them on social networks. It’s like dating, though, so don’t push too fast. You don’t want to scare off them off before you’ve even made it to the courtship phase
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If you work on your personal and company brands, they will create a pull strategy that brings press to you naturally. Editors and reporters read a lot from different sources; if they see you (or your company) being billed as an industry expert, they are going to be attracted to you. Another great way to draw editors in is by providing well-written, high-quality content to other publications. It makes it easier for you to find opportunities if editors have already have seen samples of your work; you will automatically have some credibility. That’s something you can’t pay for.
While conferences seem like a fun, beer-fueled time, there are many useful conferences where you can network with media contacts. BlogWorld is coming up June 5th through 7th in New York, and it’s a great way to get face time with a lot of bloggers and editors who have influence with the press. Once you form a solid relationship, ask them what other conferences they attend. This information can help you decide which ones best suit you and your press goals.
4. Organizations and Group Networking
There are great organizations and small groups that are loaded with media connections. Join these groups and become an active member. Interact with them in group discussions, and give them positive feedback when you like one of their pieces. Make an effort to stand by one rule: help someone first before you ask for anything in return. Media contacts can sense from miles away when you’re using them for PR. Editors and writers are smart; they know what can help you, and your business, in the press. Avoid setting off their spidey senses by authentically trying to build a relationship. At some point, they will help you out. No one likes to be in anyone else’s debt.
5. PR Companies and Agencies
Good PR companies are a great way to get more press. They already have strong connections established and can do the legwork so you can concentrate on running your business. Be somewhat careful about engaging PR companies, and do your research. There are a lot of people out there who have been screwed by PR companies. Ask yourself the following questions: Do they operate on a pay-for-performance model, or do they charge a retainer? Do they deliver mentions in articles, or do they provide opportunities to write full-length articles? How do they maximize the benefits of being placed with publications? A lot of people have bad tastes in their mouths about PR companies, but there are ways to vet them to determine whether they will actually add value – or just be fixed costs that leave your bank account each month.
Even if your name doesn’t have the impact of “Trump,” that doesn’t mean you can’t rack up some press on your own. Take the time to use your people skills and develop some solid media relationships – do something for them, and they’ll do something for you. The worst-case scenario is that you end up with Kim Kardashian’s reputation, and she doesn’t seem to be doing too badly.