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Wondering how to get publicity for business-related news around your products and services? Even though reporters are bombarded with news releases and pitches from companies that want coverage, the truth is that they need your news. Success lies in the way that you offer it to them. Here are seven ways that you can work with writers so that they will welcome you as a valuable resource.
- Find the right contacts.
Since email is “free,” it can be tempting to just fire off pitches to anyone whose name you come across. But it’s unlikely that will bear results, as reporters’ coverage is far more nuanced than you would think. The best way to see if a reporter is a good fit is to spend some time researching them. Do a search, read their stories and check out their Twitter handle. Find out the kinds of things they cover. Do they cover products? Or trends? Big companies? Small companies? Local companies? National companies? That will give you a clue of how to approach them.
- Offer them news.
This one seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many off-topic pitches reporters get every day – hundreds is not an exaggeration. After you’ve targeted them carefully, make sure that you’re not sending them news on every little thing. While a new product may be of interest, a new hire or an award you won may not be if they only cover consumer news, rather than industry news. If you send too many off-topic pitches you may end up having your news deleted before they even read it.
- Give them the information they need.
Back to the headline – the truth is that writers truly do need to hear from people like you. No matter what trend or product they are covering, they need a real-life example or anecdote to make their story engaging. That’s why it’s smart to build relationships with reporters or writers who cover small business, women-owned business, entrepreneurial business and service business – whatever it is that you are. Once you’ve identified the reporters who might be interested in your news, reach out and let them know that you’re happy to help them with any information they need or if they are looking for a source.
- Answer their query completely and quickly.
If a reporter does send you an email to clarify something in your letter or press release, make sure that you get back to them right way. Often they are on deadline and will use your information only if you respond quickly.
- Utilize the HARO service.
One excellent source of potential leads that will help your business get publicity is the Help A Reporter Out (HARO) website. Reporters post queries about stories they need help with. When you sign up, you’ll start getting an email three times a day that gives you the information they are looking for. This can be a goldmine because these are reporters, on deadline, who are literally looking for you. The trick is to answer their queries properly. I have written a whole blog post on it that I encourage you to check out, but the bottom line is you should:
- Answer quickly. They often use the first responders.
- Answer completely. Don’t just say you’re available if they need an interview, but give them the information they ask for. Reporters are busy and often don’t have time for a phone call.
- Make sure you fit what they are looking for. For example, if they need someone in a certain geographic area, then make sure you are there before you answer. If they specifically said “no products,” don’t send them information on your product.
- Build a relationship.
Reporters don’t want to be your “friend,” but they do want to have a stable of sources they can go to when they’re working on a story. Freelance writers in particular, often write for many different publications so if you help them out once they are liable to contact you again – and again – when they need sources. Take the time to read their stories and if you were quoted in a story, thank them for using your information and then post it on your social media sites. It’s good for you, of course, and them as well. Touch base every now and then to see if there’s anything they are working on that you can help with.
- Remember that timing is everything.
Unfortunately there’s no way to predict when that timing is, so the best advice is to think ahead. If you want to send them a story related to an upcoming holiday, send it far in advance since their deadlines are likely quite early – up to six months for consumer magazines. And, I can’t stress enough, if they do get back to you with a question make sure that you respond right away to improve your chances of being included in the story.
Publicity is an excellent way to showcase your company and your products and services, and the great news is that there are tons of writers out there who need you as much as you need them. Using these best practices on how to get publicity for business will pay dividends as you reach reporters when and how they need it.
Can I help you with your publicity strategy? Call me at 1-858-859-1411 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org today. Looking forward to hearing about your business and what you are trying to achieve with publicity.
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