How to Ensure PR Coverage in a Digital World
August 24, 2020
Bolster Online Publicity for Your Company
Receiving PR coverage is a big plus for any business. Publicity can provide many benefits, such as establish you as an industry expert, increase brand visibility, or spread the word about a new product/service. However, receiving media coverage in today’s digital world requires careful preparation and content creation.
PR Coverage Tips
Today’s online world is saturated with information. Capturing the attention of writers is not easy. They are busy people, receiving almost 38,000 emails per year while other workers on average only receive 12,000 emails annually. And, 44 percent of these writers are pitched a minimum of 20 times per day. Outlined below are a few tips to help ensure PR coverage for your business:
1. Tell a Compelling Story
Journalists want an irresistible hook. Do not bore them by telling them just what your business does, but instead elaborate on its uniqueness. How does your new offering stand out from the competition? What motivated you to start your business? Why should someone use your product/service? How is your business going to change the world? Developing a strong and compelling story will be time well spent. It will lay the groundwork for future PR coverage.
2. Conduct a Photo Shoot
Today’s digital age has brought about many changes for journalists. One major change has been a decrease in budgets. Nowadays, writers often do not have the latitude to send out a photographer for every story of interest. And, sometimes without a photo, the story may not be covered. Plus, articles are posted to social media sites and those with photos receive many more views, clicks, and shares. For example, tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets than tweets without images.
To solve this issue, you can take photos of your product or even create a short explainer video with your smartphone. Smartphones can produce high-resolution photos just needed to sell a story. If you need a little help with your photography skills, this HubSpot blog offers 25 tips and tricks to taking high-quality photos with your mobile device.
3. Set PR Coverage Goals
Now that you have the basics down for your PR coverage, it is time to set some goals for yourself. Do not consider such lofty goals as “become famous” with your first pitch. Instead, be realistic and establish goals that will help you to accomplish higher objectives such as:
- Increase brand awareness,
- Receive coverage in key markets for your new product or service,
- Drive visitors to your website,
- Differentiate your brand from the competition
With these goals in mind, build a spreadsheet of the journalists and publications you plan to target. Do not make it an endless list, but include solid, relevant options. The spreadsheet should include information such as:
- Publication name,
- Key contact name, title, email address, and phone number,
- Type of media outlet (i.e. blog, online magazine),
- Reader demographics (usually available in media kit),
- Link to the publication’s website
4. Build Rapport
Now that you have your targeted list of publications in mind, it is time to build rapport with these selected journalists. You are going to be asking them a favor and asking a stranger usually does not work out so well. Media outreach is all about relationships. Below are four ways to establish rapport with writers:
- Follow them on Twitter. Retweet and like their tweets,
- Connect with them on LinkedIn,
- Follow them on Facebook. Like and comment on their posts,
- Connect at virtual or in-person trade shows
5. Close the Deal with the Perfect Pitch
The steps above can take time, so it is key that you do not rush this last one. If you have developed a rapport with a writer, as recommended in step four, you should ask the journalist permission to pitch. Once you receive a positive response, then ask the writer the preferred method you should use to pitch.
Make sure your headline will capture the writer’s attention. Your angle should relate to the type of topic that the journalist covers. For example, if a writer usually covers technology, you should write about your new product with this perspective in mind.
You should follow-up after two to three days. If the answer is “not interested”, do not become discouraged. Going forward you may want to reconsider your timing, the publication’s editorial calendar, and your email subject line.
However, if you do receive that much-coveted “yes”, from a journalist, be sure you are ready to move forward quickly. Below are a few steps to ensure you are prepared:
- Take high-resolution photos or even a video,
- Update your website with any related information,
- Be available for an interview,
- Have a current bio and headshot
It is critical that you meet the requested deadlines for information. Also, adhere to any embargos. Being easy to work with and maintaining rapport are critical to receiving repeat coverage.
Sources of Free PR Coverage
Receiving PR coverage can establish you as an authority in your industry and lead to many new opportunities. Below are three different sources for receiving free PR coverage:
Associations or industry organizations offer a host of benefits. They provide great networking opportunities with potential partners and vendors. You can gain valuable insights from conferences and webinars. Also, these organizations often have online and/or printed magazines and newsletters that are always looking for fresh content. These organizations welcome articles from its members on key topics.
This method of free PR coverage was utilized by the diamonddog Marketing team. One of our niche markets is manufacturing. We approached the FMA (Fabricators and Manufacturers Association) about writing an article for its online publication, The Fabricator. Our article on smart marketing was published, positioning diamonddog Marketing as a subject matter expert in marketing for the manufacturing industry. The article also provided a valuable backlink to the diamonddog Marketing website, which is important for SEO.
HARO or Help Out a Reporter is another way to receive free PR coverage. By subscribing to different categories of email alerts, you can connect with journalists who are looking for input from subject matter experts. You can submit responses to different inquiries. If your response is selected, it will be published as part of a journalist’s article. Often the contributors are given credit, which usually includes that valuable backlink to your company website.
The diamonddog Marketing team has had success with HARO inquiries. For example, we submitted a response to an inquiry about why we loved being entrepreneurs. It provided expanded visibility for the diamonddog Marketing brand. And, it made an excellent social media post on our company pages.
3. Speaking Opportunities
Another source of free PR coverage is webinars or in-person presentations. Many local organizations, such as the Small Business Development Center, a chamber of commerce, or a college or university, host these events. Also, many associations are interested in new and different subject matter experts to educate their members on various topics.
The diamonddog Marketing team took part in this type of opportunity for a home health care association. We spoke on a webinar hosted by the Home Care Association of Florida. Many of the association’s smaller members either have no or a minimal online presence; therefore, we educated them on website strategies.
These opportunities not only provide enhanced brand visibility and broaden your potential customer base, but they also help to gain access to media interviews and other contributions as an expert. These presentations showcase effective public speaking skills, which can lead to other opportunities. Also, journalists love to interview candidates who are articulate and authorities in their field.
PR Coverage Requires an Ongoing Effort
PR coverage is not a one and done deal. As we all know too, nobody wants to read yesterday’s news; therefore, it is key to have a regular drumbeat of PR coverage. However, this does take time and effort. Relationships with current media partners must be maintained while new opportunities must be sought consistenly.
The diamonddog Marketing team has extensive experience in providing PR coverage for several clients across different industries. If you need help stepping up your media efforts, contact us today at 847-269-1422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 4, 2022