Steve Jobs. Mark Zuckerberg. Sara Blakely. Larry Page. You've heard their names in the press more times than you can count. Who wouldn't want to be as famous as these entrepreneurs?
You may not be gunning to create a new verb ("Did you Google it?"). But media attention is not only a morale and ego booster but also a revenue enhancer.
Press coverage rarely happens by accident. Whether you've hired a PR firm to market your company, or you do it in-house, it takes a bit of an investment to get the media's attention. Here's a few tried and true pointers to tip the odds of landing coverage in your favor:
7 B2B PR Tips to Help You Succeed in the Media
Give these ideas a perusal before you make your next B2B PR move with the press.
Tip #1: Pitch to the right publication
You know what your customer base is interested in. After all, that's what makes your company successful, right?
Use that knowledge to find the best outlets for your story. Niche publications that cater to a very targeted audience are a good place to start. For instance, you may have a product that can be used in a variety of settings, but you've found a sweet spot with veterinary hospitals. Pitch your story to trade journals that are frequently read by your target audience.
That being said, you don't want to pigeon-hole yourself. Seek out local business publications and other trades suitable for your target audience. And when you have a general business story that appeals to a wide swath, don't be afraid to aim high. Pitch Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek and other general business outlets. For those top tier publications, you may have better luck pitching a byline article -- one you write yourself.
Tip #2: Pitch to the right reporter
Reading a couple of articles by one reporter doesn't mean you know what story ideas he wants to hear. Instead, develop relationships with reporters and really get a feel for his personality, style, and needs. You can do this by, yes, reading what he writes, but also by engaging him in conversation on social media platforms. After a while, you'll get a feel for who is a good fit and who isn't .
Also, don't discount the advantage of a face-to-face meeting.
Here's a helpful hint:
Offer to buy a reporter lunch in exchange for letting him pick your brain about industry topics. Let the conversation develop organically. If there's a story somewhere in there, the reporter will find it. Remember, that's his job.
Tip #3: Don't just follow the crowd
If a reporter just covered a story on particular topic, it doesn't mean she wants to be flooded with hundreds of requests for coverage on the same topic. However, if you have a way to advance the story or provide new insights, it's worth reaching out. You can also use the reporter's previous story as a jumping off point for a different but related topic. The reporter may not jump on your ideas right away, but your reaching out can help build a relationship.
Tip #4: Don't boast
Reporters are doing you a favor by writing your story. If you come at a reporter with a "My company is awesome and you need to write about it" approach, you won't get far. Nobody like to sit through a sales pitch.
On the other hand, contacting a reporter with a human interest story or with ways that your company is improving lives, saving customers money, growing customers' revenues is of interest, Genuine flattery never hurts, either. If you really appreciate the interest a reporter takes in a certain topic, or how he covered a recent story, make sure to tell him. Whatever you do, just don't fake it. Your selfish motives will shine through your sheep's clothing.
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Tip #5: Have your ducks in a row
A journalist doesn't want the whole story written for him since it can take almost as long to rewrite something as it does to write it from scratch. However...
The fact is:
You need to provide plenty of supporting information.
Quotes, images, and infographics are among some of the helpful aids you can provide to the reporter covering your story.
Statistics, pithy quotes, and interesting facts can all help the reporter do a better job.
Tip #6: Help Reporters
If you feel overwhelmed with the idea of approaching the media, or if you simply don't have the means to do so, check out HARO (Help a Reporter Out). This is a free resource that is used by more than 30,000 reporters to find quotes for their pieces.
When you sign up to be a source, you'll be contacted three times a day with a list of source requests. If you are able to provide your expertise for any of them, just respond and you'll be linked with the appropriate journalist. It's a great way to get publicity absolutely free!
Tip #7: Don't rush it
Here's the deal:
Building relationships and credibility takes time and persistence.
If you get ignored by a few journalists, or your ideas get shot down, don't give up. Harness that drive that you used to make your company a success and approach it from another angle. Often, it's just a matter of good timing...and persistence.
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