Do you want to get free press for you or your business?
Getting press is easier than you think, and I’ll show you exactly how if you just keep reading.
Why listen to me?
Well, I’m not famous, an influencer, nor am I the CEO of a hot new startup. In fact, I tend to hide behind the scenes like a puppet master quietly helping companies grow.
In my corporate gigs, I have helped my CEOs, coworkers, and even myself get featured in industry magazines and have presented at several conferences.
Enough about me. Let’s get back to you. If you want to get a quick win for your company, or even just want to stroke the ego, this guide will show you how.
Why is Press Important?
Getting press can help with brand recognition establish credibility and create trust with your customers.
It can help with SEO (link building), drive traffic to your website, or build awareness of your services.
Press can catapult a personal brand from nothing to legendary status.
Lastly, the right placements can generate massive sales (or zero sales). Press is hit or miss like that.
The Problem with Traditional Press Advice
I have taken several PR courses, and they all have one issue in common. They are written by PR Professionals.
The common advice is this.
- Build relationships with reporters.
- Warm them up by following them on Twitter.
- Connect with them on LinkedIn
- Comment on their articles and on social
- Send them leads for new stories
- And finally, when the timing is right, ask for your article to be published.
The thing is the PR Professionals are right. This is the best way for a PR Professional to get press.
They want to build a long-term relationship with reporters because that reporter can be used for multiple clients and multiple stories for their PR firm.
But we’re business owners. We do not have time to warm up a reporter for 6-8 months for one story.
I have a completely different strategy, and it amazes me how easy it is to get press.
3 Important Press Rules to Remember:
There are three simple rules you must remember to consistently get good press opportunities.
Understanding this will help you craft great pitches that get noticed by reporters and
Knowing your target audience is half the battle.
Many reporters are overworked and underpaid.
Most reporters are working under very tight and sometimes impossible deadlines.
Large publications often source trending material from smaller publications.
6 Simple Rules to Get Press on Demand
Getting press can be both easy and repeatable. Here are seven steps to becoming a press getting machine.
Story is King
Very few people actually care about your “doodad”, your new office, or your revolutionary new service.
However, if you can craft a great story, your “doodad” immediately becomes interesting. The fact that your new office will help bring jobs to the local market is interesting to local papers. If you can show how your revolutionary service clearly and succinctly will help people, it can be news.
Think about it, some of the greatest PR hits are from commodity products that no one would have cared about without a good story.
If there is one skill you should learn, learn to be a good storyteller.
Less Shotgun, More Sniper.
Many marketers go the shotgun approach. They want as much attention as possible. They blast their press release to a 1,000 reporters who simply delete it as soon as it hits their inbox.
Attention does not equal qualified prospects.
If you’ve been in business for any reasonable time, you should know who your customers are and what they read.
Find these publications and target specific reporters that cover your niche or story angle. Give them a story that fits what they typically write about.
Press outreach should be targeted.
Serve the Story on a Platter
Fact 1 and Fact 2 above. Many reporters are overworked and driven by tight deadlines.
If you provide a story on a platter, reporters are more likely to write about you/your company because they have to do less work and can more easily meet their deadline.
Give them a great story. Show them how your story ties in with current events or a theme the writer is interested in or has written about before.
Offer Social Proof
Reporters love a good story, but they you still need to earn their trust.
When pitching, give a few examples of previous stories about your brand or anything notable.
- Social missions
- Partnerships with notable companies
It is easier to write about notable businesses or people. Earning trust will double response rate when paired with a good story.
Be the Chief Something or Other
It is 10X easier to get press when the CEO/Founder makes the pitch.
Have the owner or an executive send the pitch or get access to send pitches through their email.
Reporters are human. They feel important talking to business owners.
See Rule #3. Large publications source stories from smaller publications.
After learning this rule from Ryan Holiday, I've seen it play out hundreds of times in practice.
Target smaller publications to gain recognition and social proof and then pitch the same story to larger publications.
Here are a few real-world examples I've used to score press in major publications.
Example - 1/3 Page Newspaper Article in Largest Market
We were hiring a blogger, and with this news, landed a 1/3 page newspaper article in one of our largest markets with a huge photo of our products.
Not a story – We’re hiring a blogger!
Story – Hilarious (at least I thought so) job posting for a blogger results in the craziest responses
Pitch Summary - I had a story idea that I thought your readers would enjoy. I own a offshore duffel bag company, Bad Ass Work Gear (You may have seen my billboard), and I recently posted a job on ProBlogger for a writer for our blog. Now, our brand has a bit of attitude, and I may have mentioned catching and alligator with my bare hands and a 15 on 2 brawl in Whataburger, plus some interlaced profanity in my job posting. Anyway, you would not believe the response I've received from writers wanting the job. It's gone viral with over 500 applications coming in and growing. More importantly, you wouldn't believe some of the stories these guys (and gals) are telling me.
Example - Article in Entrepreneur Magazine
Not a story – We add branded stickers in every order.
Story – Zero Dollar Marketing Strategies
Pitch Summary: I started Bad Ass Work Gear for less than $500. To get it off the ground we included hard hat stickers with every order. These stickers became legend in the oilfield and helped us grow completely by word of mouth from $0 to $100k in revenue in our first year. I even had friends texting me photos of our stickers they found on drilling rigs and in galleys in remote areas as far away as Alaska.
Notes: Have professional photos ready. I missed an opportunity to have a picture of myself and our gear in the magazine because I did not have a photo of “magazine quality” by the deadline.
I could provide dozens of examples, but the idea here is that even the most mundane of activities can be turned into repeatable press utilizing good stories.
Feel free to post below with your brand, and I’ll try to respond with some story ideas.