What do you need to do to get press coverage for your business? Is it as simple as ringing up the local paper?
There are several factors to consider when you are seeking press coverage. First of all you must remember that newspapers and magazines are trying to make money. They have a customer base. They have a target demographic and they want to engage with them. So, do some research before approaching anyone. Find out what sort of thing they tend to publish. Look at what the articles are doing. Are they informing people with solutions? Are they offering interesting biographical stories? Would their readers match your target audience? If you don’t do this first you are making a big mistake. Magazines will not be impressed if you pitch something at them that shows you’ve never even read their publication properly. You need to appeal to their interests if you are going to get your story in their pages.
Now that you have found a paper or magazine that is a good match you need to decide on an angle. There is little point in just saying “hello, we’re here”. That isn’t going to interest many people. It is also clear that you are just trying to avoid paying for advertising space. Instead, find an angle of interest. If it is a local paper, find a local angle. Good news stories involving the local community are much more likely to be picked up than something that reads like an about page off your website.
You then need to write some copy for your potential article. Again it is vital that you analyse your target publication carefully. If you can write in a style that is closer to their own then there is less work for them to do. Less work is something we all tend to like, so it can often make it easier for a story to be accepted! Make sure you use good quality written language that is similar to their style and that is accurate. Spelling mistakes or sentences that don’t make sense will not help your cause. Check to see if they want a summary as well when receiving submissions. You don’t want to fail simply because you didn’t read their guidelines.
The next important step is to ensure that you have at least one great photo to go with your story. It must be high quality and it must be relevant to the story. If you send something that is too small for them to print then they probably won’t print it! You are more likely to get press coverage for your business if you have an eye-catching picture that summarises the story. They may ask for more, so make sure you have spares if possible. Bad photos can mean people skip reading the story itself. So, it is worth making sure that your photos are enhancing your press release and not detracting from it. As with writing style, it helps if your image is similar to the type of thing they usually publish. Analyse the images as well as the words.
Only once you have the full package of targeted, high quality words and images are you ready to submit your press release. If possible, find the best person to submit it to. Make sure that if it is a seasonal story there is time for it to go to press before it becomes irrelevant. You still can’t control whether they decide to run your piece or not. But, if you have made it simple for them and something that will enhance that issue of their publication they are much more likely to do so. Remember you are submitting to busy people who need good content. Make their job easy and you can get things that help you. Make their job difficult and they won’t bother with you at all.
All of this probably sounds like a lot of hard work. Indeed it is a lot of hard work! If you are unsure how to go about writing good copy then I suggest approaching a copywriter. Similarly, if you need professional high quality photos you should think about hiring an experienced photographer who has had their work published. Better still, why not get high quality text and images done for by a team who also have press contacts and can advise you on the best way forward? Take a look at our Ultimate Press & Photography Package that we offer together with Front Page Media.
© Joe Lenton, July 2016