Have you read through a magazine or newspaper or watched a television show and saw a product or service featured because of an industry trend?
Do you wonder how regular people become experts and get quoted in magazine and newspaper articles? Curious how businesses are profiled on the Oprah show? All of the questions have one answer - publicity.
As entrepreneurs, we know publicity is worth so much more than advertising. A company or person can not buy publicity as advertising space can be bought. PR specialists can't control the size of a write up the way advertisers can. Thus, publicity is at the sole discretion of the editor, journalist, reporter, radio show host or television producer. Publicity can be positive or negative; an honest assessment of a product or service.
When your product, service, name, or company is in print or featured on television or the radio, it increases credibility and can garner massive amounts of media attention. Because publicity is much more credible than advertising, small businesses and entrepreneurs spend billions and billions of dollars using PR firms every year.
Recently, I was putting a publicity campaign for one of my new products. I emailed six pitch letters to six different publications and landed four feature story interviews and one by-lined article purely because each pitch was relevant and useful to what each publication required at that time.
If you have had trouble reaching media professionals previously, take action with these steps:
- Research the contact information and address the editor by his or her first and last name.
- Don't send generic email pitches and press releases as it is publicity spamming. Each query/pitch/press release needs to meet the tone of each publication you contact.
- Keep each pitch to one page. Stay away from using ornate language unless necessary. Always remember, media professionals want news – they are not interested in reading the greatest piece of literature since Charlotte Bronte.
- Contact one editor/reporter/journalist at a time. Make sure to reference an article the journalist/reporter wrote to show that you are familiar with his/her work in your pitch.
- Don't send self-promotional materials because it will end up in the trash. Make the media's job easier. Tell your contact how your company or product can help their audience.
- Always send queries/pitches/press releases in the body of an email. Never send as an attachment, unless the journalist or reporter asks for it in that format. Never send a complete media kit unless requested.
- Follow up in a timely manner via email or telephone - usually 48 to 72 hours after the initial pitch.
Remember, the media finds more than half its stories from regular businesses. The more helpful you are to journalists, the more inclined journalists will be to help you.