5 PR Tips for Getting Your Story Heard

Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

PRAs someone who’s been a reporter for newspapers, magazines and the web for more than 10 years, I’m constantly bombarded by press releases from publicists – and, as is true for many reporters, there are many press releases I don’t even open or trash within a few seconds of perusing them.

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As annoyed as I can get by receiving random releases, it’s also got to be frustrating for business publicists to send hundreds of reporters a release and not get a single item of press coverage.

If you’re managing your small business public relations efforts and are hoping to get some press, here are five best practices for pitching reporters that will help ensure you get the high-quality coverage you desire.

1. Make a Personal Connection First

In today’s world of massive e-mail communication, I receive my fair share of spam e-mails; if I receive an e-mail from an address I’m not familiar with along with a “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” in the subject line, chances are good I’ll simply click delete.

  • Before you even send a reporter your first pitch, send them a personalized welcome e-mail introducing yourself. Tell them about the type of brand you’re representing and what types of news you anticipate having.

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  • Then, ask their permission to send them releases in the future. Once they’ve given you permission, they’re probably not going to hit delete or send you to their spam folder. Don’t forget, calling makes a world of difference.

2. Don’t Send Inappropriate Messages

Really get a feel for the types of content the reporter covers and writes about. Just because I have a fashion section on my blog, doesn’t mean I want a press release about a clothing drive at a hospital.

  • In your intro convo, clarify what types of releases they want, and don’t send mass releases to your whole list – the reporters will realize you’re only scrounging for a story, any story, you can get.

Related: Optimizing Your PR Strategy

3. Tailor Each Message to the Individual

I say publicists should do away with press releases altogether, especially if they’re local businesses. Instead, make each outreach message a personal one.

  • Let the reporter know why you thought she was the perfect person to cover the story.
  • Show your investment in the reporter by conveying the value your story would have for her readers, and explain that you’re happy to provide follow-up materials specifically tailored to her news outlet if she’s interested in covering you.
  • Make creating the story as easy as possible for the writer, and you’ve won half the battle.

4. Show Your Appreciation

Want reporters to continue to write about your cause? The best way to do that is to help them gain pageviews for their outlet. Once the story breaks, make sure you share it on all the appropriate social networks – not just of the brand’s, but your personal ones, as well.

5. Maintain relationships

Unfortunately, it’s not always the juicy story that makes reporters eager to write – sometimes, the relationship with the publicist is just as important a factor; if reporters know the publicists are accommodating and represent their brands well.

Even if you don’t send the reporter news for a while, be sure to maintain the relationship to ensure you and your business stay on their mind. Check in with a friendly e-mail every few months to touch base about whether their beat has changed or there any new contacts to introduce you to. Add the reporter to social networks, such as LinkedIn, and share their other stories.

Just like social media, the journalist/publicist world is all about engagement and reciprocity, as well. Be genuine in your interactions, and you’ll ensure you’ll stay at the top of the reporter’s mind next time he’s stumped for a story idea.

Bio: Nicki Escudero is the social media and content strategist for CX, which provides cloud storage solutions to businesses and individuals, with a focus on collaboration with features such as groups, chat and social network sharing. To try out CX for Business for free for 30 days, no credit card required, go here.


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