As a marketer, you probably spend most of your time getting other company’s products and services in front of the right people – but what about a little shameless self-promotion?
How do you get your marketing business in the limelight?
What’s the best way to build your authority, establish expertise, and tap into new audiences that can help grow your business?
PR is just one way to getting more exposure for your business – but it is a tried and tested method.
The paradox is that most people either do everything themselves or they shell out 10k for a PR Agency retainer. However, the reality is that getting press is neither complicated nor expensive – it just takes effort, strategy and time.
This article will help give you a brief overview of what you need to know to generate press for your company and personal brand as a marketer.
Let’s Start With The Basics…
How consumers view your brand is referred to as your public profile. It does not matter if you are a small business or a big corporation, building your public profile is a necessity if you want to grow as a business.
Press is one way to growth hack your public appearance as a respected professional. Even just a few media mentions can help:
- Brand credibility and awareness
- Drive new sales
- Create back-link opportunities for organic growth
- Build social media follows and website traffic
Building press mentions for your business is a key strategy that is often overlooked by people focused on keeping their business moving.
It all starts by creating a strategy that is going to work for your business.
There are many methods to approaching PR – but I’m going to share some basic insight that will be enough to get the gears turning and give perspective on how to approach it.
As with any marketing strategy, it takes testing and tactics to really get it right.
Tell A Great Story!
The best PR always starts with a good story.
People just don’t care that you have a marketing agency – that is not a “media-friendly” story in itself.
Think about how many competitors you have. Think about the kinds of articles that you read. You need to find a way to tell your story so that it relates to other people. It’s not an advertisement or a self-promotional plug – it’s about providing value to others.
You have to be able to connect with your target audience and offering them a personal story is one of the simplest and most effective ways to accomplish this.
The best way to get your story shared is to ensure that it is focused on your target audience. What do they like? What are they most likely to respond to?
There are a few elements to remember when you are considering how to tell your story:
- Where is your passion?
- How did your business start?
- What makes your business unique?
- What do customers think about you?
- How your business is impacting the world?
These are just questions to consider, but it’s important to be creative. Perhaps you have an amazing case study to share? Perhaps you’ve figured out a new marketing strategy that no one else is applying? Maybe you’ve worked with some incredible clients?
The point is – successful PR comes from sharing something that is actually interesting to other people.
Don’t be self-centered – think about how you can make a story that relates to others and what they find important. If you are telling a great story – you will be surprised at who comes straight to you to hear it.
Always Monitor Press Opportunities!
If you are new to PR – the best way to start is by tuning in to press opportunities.
This is the easiest way to start getting media mentions because you are connecting with journalists who are actively seeking expert sources like you.
There are many platforms that can help with connecting you with journalists and the best part – they are mostly free!
If you are ready to get started – check out these sites:
- HARO – Help A Reporter Out
- The Source Bottle
These are all great sources for finding press opportunities, but don’t assume that just because you respond that you will get quoted in the writer’s piece.
The journalists on these platforms receive tons of pitches from other people like you – so you still need to focus on providing a quality answer and cutting through the noise.
Here are a couple pointers for finding success with press requests:
- Establish your expertise right away – journalists want to quote expert sources who lend credibility to their work.
- Pay careful attention to their request – make sure that your pitch is on topic and accurately answers their query.
- Provide easily quotable material – most journalists are on tight deadlines, so if you can provide the perfect “sound bite” that can be copied and pasted into an article then you are much more likely to find success.
- Offer to promote their work – one way to stand out is offer some sort of value exchange with the writer by offering to share their work on social, newsletters, etc.
Go Straight to the Journalists
Once, you’ve mastered pitching journalists who are looking for sources, then you can move on to pitching journalists who you think might be interested in your story.
When you are ready to approach journalists, it is important to be direct, but also be yourself.
Don’t use one template and one contact list for all of your pitching. It’s a quick way to getting ignored all of the time.
So, how exactly do you create a successful pitch?
There are two main parts to successful pitching:
A) The pitch
B) The target
A great pitch goes hand-in-hand with a great story. If you are sharing something that is interesting and compelling then you will find success in your pitching.
If you don’t have the ‘sexiest’ story out there – then you need to work on how you present it.
The best way to choose who you are pitching to is by qualifying them in relation to your pitch. Here are just a few qualities to look for:
- The journalist should be current and active in the industry
- What you want to pitch should be similar to their regular content
- Verify their contact information to ensure it is accurate before reaching out
- Learn more about the journalist
Once you focus in on what you want to pitch and to whom you want to pitch it – then you can actively work on building your media lists, collecting contact information, and developing your approach.
Build Solid Relationships
Pitching journalists that you have no prior contact with is all fine and good – especially if you are sharing something juicy.
However, the most powerful PR campaigns are built on relationships. After you’ve sent out a bunch of pitches with your best shot at a story and little results – you will probably be thinking that you are doing something wrong.
In reality, the only missing piece is relationships that you can leverage to get yourself in front of the right audience.
That being said – this isn’t something that can happen over night.
A good relationship is about value-exchange, so you need to learn how to give before you can receive.
Think about ways that you can help a journalist out or connect with them around something that isn’t just about you.
For example, you might try:
- Sharing their work on social media and leaving meaningful comments
- Ask them for feedback or advice as an expert
- If you see content they might like, send it their way with no strings attached
- Before launching a new product or service, give them a chance to try it out
- Research their work so you can get a better idea of what they are interested in
- Reference their work in your own articles or blog
The point here is that you should open up some conversations with people, provide them with value up front without asking for something in return, and nurture your relationships to see where collaboration can work.
If you can help someone first, they are much more likely to help you in the future.
Seek Out Guest Posting Opportunities
Sometimes it can be hard to get someone to write about you – so why not write something yourself?
As a marketer, you probably have a ton of interesting knowledge that many other people would like to know.
A guest post is a great opportunity to:
- Establish your authority and expertise within your industry
- Provide value to readers so that they look to you as a source of information and guidance
- Get in front of a new audience
- Build out backlinks to your site
- Drive more traffic
So how do you get guest posts?
The process is pretty simple.
First, you need to develop some great content ideas. There is a constant hunger for content on the internet and publications are always willing to accept an article that is thoughtful, value-driven, and is appealing to their audience.
This means that you need to go beyond a clickbait title and a re-hashed article.
Instead try ideas like this:
- Break down a “how to” on a marketing strategy
- Run an experiment testing two marketing strategies against each other
- Provide real industry insight or perspective
- Dispute a common marketing belief and provide evidence of why it is faulty
With a great piece of content in-hand, seek out publications that host similar content and then simply send them a pitch.
If you express why you are qualified to write about it and present a valuable idea to share, you would be surprised at how many publications will say ‘yes’ to your guest post idea – even if they don’t normally host guest posts.
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