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Virtually every single business can use a boost to its public profile. Generating Press is always a huge win.

  • Press means brand awareness and credibility.
  • Awareness means website traffic and social follows.
  • Press means great backlink opportunities.
  • To be blunt, press drives sales.

So how do we get press? Is there a faucet that we can just turn on? this is what we do! We help clients like Expedia, Hubspot, Agora Pulse, and Kijiji generate serious press mentions.

Our methodology has been so successful that we’ve generated coverage in the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, The Next Web, Entrepreneur, Forbes, USA Today, and hundreds of niche publications…

Let me just tell you real quick… there is no magic bullet. Generating Press for your business is hard work; it’s about 5 key things…

  1. Telling Better Stories
  2. Engaging With Reporters
  3. Doing Cold Outreach to Journalists
  4. Providing Value to the Community
  5. And Building Relationships

What we’re hoping to do with this article is give you a small and simple playbook to work against. You should come away with some reasonably actionable ideas.

1. You’re Not That Interesting – Tell a Better Story

Customers and clients need a way to connect to your business, and the best way to accomplish that is to tell great stories.

Unless you are the first business on Mars – no one cares that you opened a new office downtown.

You need to focus on sharing something that matters to readers. You need to share a story that people can relate to or learn a lesson from.

  • Where does your business come from?
  • Why are you passionate?
  • What separates you from the rest of the competition?
  • What do your best customers say about you?
  • Why do they love you? How
  • How have you changed the world for the better?

By telling great stories, you become a magnet for others to tell great stories about you. If you’re not that interesting; if your business and its story is not presented in a way that makes for an obvious grab from a journalist, they are going to move on, quickly.

2. Be Ready to Respond to Reporters

Reporters are always on the hunt for sources to bolster their articles.

Journalists want to give their articles credibility and your expert opinion, company data, and industry research is exactly what they need and want.

In fact, journalists are actively seeking sources all of the time – all you need to do is connect with them directly.

So how can you be the next source for an upcoming article?

It’s easy – there are actually tools that are made to connect journalist requests with expert sources.

A few examples of these include:

These resources are a great starting point for learning how to pitch reporters and work within journalistic deadlines. The best part of responding to a press opportunity is that you are pitching a journalist who is already seeking an expert like you.

Not everything you submit will get picked up. In fact, there are a ton of other people responding to the same request, so don’t assume that your half-hearted attempt is a guaranteed media mention – even if it seems like a perfect fit.

You need to be compelling, provide real insight, and pay careful attention to what a journalist is seeking.

However, when you do get quoted, your potential customers will take notice.

3. Pitch Directly to Journalists

Once you’ve mastered press opportunities, another way to gain exposure is to generate a great pitch and contact a journalist who may have potential interest in it.

Be tactful—journalists don’t have time to deal with an incomplete or irrelevant story.

Remember – tell a better story. The existence of your company is not necessarily newsworthy.

In addition to a great pitch, you also need to target the right journalists.

Most reporters have a particular beat, such as technology or business. Pitching to the wrong journalist is a fast way for an email to be ignored or end up in the trash.

The first step to pitching the right journalists is creating a targeted and thoughtful media list.

We shared some easy hacks for building media lists in our recent e-book, but a few things to keep in mind include:

  • Focus on journalists who are active writers
  • Focus on writers who produce content similar to your pitch
  • Find the right contact info
  • Research your targets by analyzing their social profiles, author profiles, and previous work

If you are pitching journalists and you aren’t getting any response – don’t give up. It’s normal. A failed pitch is an indication you need to change your angle or your targets.

If you are still struggling, there are tools that can help you connect with right journalists easier and faster.

Just Reach Out is a search engine that helps you connect with relevant reporters based on simple keyword searches. It also provides tools, such as templates, to help you craft your pitch.

Remember, a pitch involves describing the interest to a reader, not the journalist. Cold calls take a lot of work, but it’s worth it if your pitch gets picked up.

4. Guest Posting

Sometimes it can be difficult to convince someone else to write about you – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something valuable to share.

In fact, your expertise may be better expressed if you produce the content yourself.

A media mention is fantastic, but news is news because it is new. By the end of next week – your media mention will have fallen to the bottom of the list.

However, if you create a great guest post – one that is informative, actionable, insightful and provides true value to the reader – it is something that people will refer to over and over again.

You may even find that your incredible guest post pops up again and again on social media or as a resource referenced by other people’s articles.

Guest posting can lead to all types of benefits including:

  • Establishing authority and expertise within an industry
  • Connecting with your target audience by providing them with value up front
  • Building backlinks to your website to improve your SEO
  • Tapping into new audiences by getting exposure on a big publication

Not sure where to start for your next (or first) guest post?

Your first thought should always be focused on “How Can I Provide Value to the Reader?”

Never take guest posts as an opportunity for shameless self-promotion.

Promote yourself by teaching your readers or sharing insightful knowledge. This will establish trust, industry expertise, and authority, which means when people need help – they will turn to you for advice.

5. Focus on Building Relationships

The secret to PR is building relationships.

Of course, this is easier said than done. It takes time, effort, and a true value exchange to build a strong relationship.

Pitching journalists is great – but it’s sort of like asking a stranger to do you a favor. It doesn’t always work. People are busy and unless you have something to shine about, it’s hard to make that request compelling.

A relationship with a journalist is much more valuable than a one-off article feature.

So how do you do build a relationship with a journalist?

Well, it’s sort of like dating.

You need to find a common connection that brings you together. It’s about starting a conversation that isn’t just about you.

Here are a few quick ideas on how you can start talking with a journalist:

  • Comment on their previous work
  • Reference them in a guest post or on Quora – and let them know!
  • Find a typo or error in their work
  • Share content with them that might interest them
  • Share a story idea that isn’t just about you
  • Connect them with a valuable resource such as data or research that expands on the value of their work
  • Invite them to try out your product or service for free
  • Seek their advice or feedback on a project

This isn’t the fast route to exposure, but if you start to provide value for someone upfront – without asking for anything in return – then you start to build a positive relationship with them.

That way – the next time you have some news to share, they are much more likely to be receptive and willing to help you out in return.

And that’s the truth. Getting Press Coverage does not have to be difficult. But it does take hard work. Consistent leg work building an understanding of your space. Consistent work developing your brand story. Consistent work reaching out to journalists. Ultimately building a reputation as a trusted source in a context specifically valuable to your business.

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