Publicity is a fine art. And getting press is a big deal for many people. It is a huge accomplishment to get featured in print or online.
Getting into the pages of a magazine or publication is not easy, yet not an impossible task - if done correctly.
Here are a few tips on how to snag a mention or a feature in a local or national publication:
1. The press release is not dead. Contrary to a lot of advice by new media experts, the press release is still a viable form of communicating news and facts about an organization. And most editors and journalists will request one.
2. Learn to properly write a press release. The key to a “proper” press release is not so much the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when and how) – though these are important elements – but what your press release about. A news editor will reject a press release that is not news. Newspapers and publications are all about reporting and featuring news and information relevant to their publication. Think: is this something that is useful, informative and news-breaking to the publication’s readers? “Fluff” will not make it – unless it is tied in to a current news event or breaking headline.
3. Don’t be afraid to pitch! Magazines are always looking for stories. Notwithstanding the fact that they produce an editorial calendar a year ahead of time with proposed content to fill, those stories need to be told! And staff writers and freelancers tend to be overworked. Pitching an interesting and innovative story about your client or product that has never been told before is sure to gain an editor’s interest.
4. Establish a rapport and then a relationship. This seems to be a missing step with some of the advice and how-to’s I’ve read out there. Yes, creating a relationship with media is what will get your story noticed, but before a relationship is rapport. That rapport is established in your correspondence to an editor or reporter. Send a good press release and/ or pitch – and then back off! People make the mistake of bugging (dare I say annoying) their would-be contact. Follow up with an email or phone call one week or ten days after the initial pitch. Be kind, courteous and professional. Cutesy, ballsy or aggressive need not apply.
5. Be patient! This is something I can personally attest to. Oftentimes, we think we have an amazing story to pitch. That may be the case. However, as I mentioned earlier about editorial calendars, many times an editorial calendar or production schedule is already full. Either pitch earlier (learn the lead times of various publications and even your local newspaper), and/ or if a pitch is rejected or not considered, ask why and then possibly re-write or re-purpose with a fresher and different angle. Don’t take “no” for an answer (respectfully, of course), and don’t take it personally.
Though there are other techniques available on how to get media exposure for your business or for a client, getting these basics down are a firm groundwork to refining your skills are a publicist or do-it-yourselfer.
What proven techniques have you used to get placement? Share your stories with me!