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Publicity is a fabulous way to get your business out into the world. Not only is it free marketing, but it offers you credibility as well. Your market is more likely to see and respond to information about you from publicity over an ad. The challenge is getting media outlets to interview and write about you. We asked our experts to share with us what they do to reach out to media sources for publicity. We hope these tips help you to reach new clients and customers!
Do Something Newsworthy: A lot of people want publicity but they aren’t doing anything that is newsworthy. Even if you have a groundbreaking product, you’ll need to continue to take a stand, make a statement and do cool things. Think of Richard Branson jumping from an airplane, or the Red Bull stunt to put someone in space. News gets covered.
Share Your Expertise: If you are working from home, you are working which means you are an expert in something. Get out there share that expertise. Comment on HARO posts, reach out to local journalists and offer to pen a column for free.
I am a devout user of HARO to get publicity for my freelance marketing business, which I operate out of my home. Rather than spending time seeking publicity, I let PR inquiries come straight to my inbox. In the four years that I’ve worked from home, it’s been one of the most consistent sources of publicity for my own brand.
Start an AMAfeed to introduce yourself as an expert in your field. AMA (short for’Ask Me Anything’) is an often overlooked, highly efficient promotional tool for entrepreneurs. Whether you’ve just published a book that needs advertising, launched a crowdfunding campaign that needs a buzz, want to establish your position as an expert on your business, or are an entertainer looking for advertising – an Ask Me Anything (AMA) event is a unique way to engage a community. The quite new platform AMAfeed.com is commited to support you in sharing your (founder) story and promoting your product or service.
Let your competitors help you gain press coverage. Your competitors have received a lot of press coverage? That’s great news, because you can use it for your business! Why? Because your competitors have already found the journalists who are most likely to report on your startup!
How to get there? Find out which media and blogs report about your competitor. You can use a free back link tracker such as MOZ to perform the search within seconds. Just enter your competitor’s website and click through the results. You find the media outlets, blogs and influencers who did a press coverage on your competitor. Look up the name of the editors and their contacts and pitch your startup!
Make your first media interview today. Get involved with IdeaMensch.com – An interview platform from entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. IdeaMensch provides an open questionnaire with 16 questions to answer about your founder story . Answer them carefully, don’t be too short, and hand in your interview. With a bit of luck you get featured on the site!
Carla Williams Johnson
Print – Send a pitch to the editor of the main paper as well as to the editors of the various publications that are aligned with your business and ask to be
featured. Include who you are, why you should be featured. Follow up with a call.
Radio – If you are having an event send ‘news worthy’ content to the news room and ask them to include it in their entertainment or business news (where available) Send a request to the station manager and ask for an interview on a program that is aligned with your business. Follow up with a call.
Television- Send a request to the producer of any of the talk shows and ask to be included on the program. Follow up with a call. If you are having an event, send invitations to all the media and ask them to cover.
1) As a former Charlotte reporter and current freelance with national news outlets, a helpful part of being a Work at Home business is that you can answer a media request easier than those who work in an office 9-5. A major key to this, is answering their call in a timely manner. Deadlines drive a lot of who makes it on the news and who doesn’t. Most all reporters will come to your home because that’s where you- the interview are- but more importantly, where the b-roll (video) is to help them tell their story.
2) Working at home you usually have more freedom to check your TV for local news station coverage or engage during the day on social media with local reporters. Make note of reporters you like, reporters who cover stories related to your business or field and their contact information which is usually on-screen when they are on TV. Reporters need two or three pitches each day, you can help them by becoming an expert source related to your business or industry.
3) Think outside the box. Reporters with any length of experience have been there done that so they’re always looking for a new way to tell an old story. Local media are always looking for a way to localize a national story. Someone who sells goods from home through Etsy, may email their local newsroom about how their business is impacted by US Postal rates increasing, or increased package theft during the holidays, or health insurance increases.
Dr. Ashley Hampton
1) Become clear on your message and what you want to share in the media coverage. Think about how to explain your work in two to three sentences, making sure your words are concise and can be delivered in sound-bite clips.
2) Use HARO to connect with journalists on topics that are in your area of media coverage. Once you work with a journalist, thank her and continue to develop your relationship through following each other on social media and commenting when appropriate. Almost all of my media wins are through HARO queries, and I have developed some working relationships with some amazing journalists in the process.
3) Be authentic and genuine in all of your interactions. Make the connections a win-win for both parties. If you are pitching media for coverage, think about how you can help their audience, as your win will definitely happen when you’re featured.
Note from Leslie
I’ve always read that the media is constantly looking for stories, but getting them to take notice and respond to press releases is a challenge. When The Work-At-Home Success Bible came out, I sought area morning show TV appearances. It took several follow up calls to finally get one interview. My closest station was a bust. It didn’t matter when I called (the producer worked odd hours), I never got through. So publicity is something in which you should cast a wide net and make sure you have something substantive to say.
First, you need to have something newsworthy. A great way to do this is to tie your business into current trends or events. If you have a baking business that includes scones, you can pitch a segment on a traditional English Tea to celebrate the Royal Wedding. If it’s tax time and you run a bookkeeping business, you can pitch X number of things people need to remember to save the most on their taxes.
Second, you need to be willing to follow up. I’m not sure I’ve ever had media contact me based on a press release. In most cases, it was a follow up call (that many people don’t do), that led to the interview.
Finally, because it can be a lot of work for little results, instead of sending press releases (except on special occasions), I use Help a Reporter Out (HARO). This free service sends out 3 emails a day filled with media requests for experts to help them with their stories. Some of these are big name media such as Redbook, and others are podcasters or websites. I respond to any and all that I can, even if it’s a small outlet. Getting exposure, even to a small group, is better than no exposure. Through the HARO report I’ve been in Redbook, Woman’s World and more. Plus, I now have contacts there, so I pitch more stories to them.