We all know that the insights industry suffers from low awareness and a poor PR image. If only those pesky journalists knew about all the great stuff we do, the situation would be very different. But it’s not as simple as just sticking a press release on a wire service. Here are some things you need to do if you have ever thought about trying to get some coverage in the media yourself.
1) Define your audience
Think about what you want to achieve with your coverage and who you want to read your story – and then work out what they read. It might sound fantastic to be in Time Magazine, The FT or The Economist, but if you are a market research agency, your potential insight clients won’t be looking to those publications on a day to day basis. Never forget the value of trade publications.
On the other hand, if you are looking to raise your profile or that of your company because you want the interest of financial investors or potential buyers, then that might well be the right audience.
2) Do your research
When you have defined which publications you want to reach, read them. Gather inspiration from stories they have written in the past, identify gaps in coverage that have yet to be filled, and avoid topics which have recently been covered. Note down the relevant journalists (they will be the ones who have written stories on relevant topics in the past) – contacting irrelevant ones is a waste of your time and theirs, and is a sure-fire way to get yourself blacklisted.
3) Consider your resources
Does your business have an interesting story to tell? Are you sitting on interesting research? Have you just finished working on a breakthrough project with a client which the client is happy to talk about? Are you a thought leader in a field and can share your expertise? Any or all of these are great ways to interest a journalist or a publication.
If you don’t have these resources at your fingertips, you might need to do some work before you’re ready to get coverage. That might be defining your messaging, completing self-funded research or persuading clients to let you talk about your work with them. PR requires rich and interesting content, so make sure you have something to talk about before you get started.
4) Perfect your pitching
To get a publication to write about you, you need to draft a synopsis. This informs the journalist about the piece you would like to write/like them to write up. If you want your piece considered, a good synopsis with a good hook (something particularly relevant and important to them, to capture the journalist’s attention) is crucial. Your language should be concise but appealing and should try to convey the main message of the pitch within the first sentence.
Professional PR agencies will have a host of media contacts at their finger-tips to reach out to for this. It’s important to remember that many journalists may receive hundreds of pitches a day so, even when you craft the perfect pitch with a great hook, you still may not get a response.
5) Look for hooks
Stay on top of the news for interesting hooks that make your content relevant. If you can provide an interesting viewpoint on a newsworthy subject, or data to back up a particular story in the news, journalists will be keen to hear from you.
In our experience, engaging with journalists via social media is a good way to get to know them and get on their radar. If you are commenting on areas they are interested in via your blog, or if you are commenting and responding online to articles they have written this will certainly benefit. If you’re successful with your direct pitch, you must ensure that you deliver to deadline.
6) Deliver on deadlines
Most journalists do not have the luxury of moving deadlines – if they give you one you must deliver on time, and make sure you return any calls and answer any emails from the journalist as soon as you can. Not delivering on time will scupper your opportunity completely and get you blacklisted for any future opportunities
Of course all of these are things that an experienced PR Agency will know and do as a matter of course. If you’d like some help with getting into the media, please get in touch.