As an invested business, there’s nothing quite like seeing your growing company in print. Great press coverage is a superb way of building your reputation, increasing brand awareness amongst your audience and can be a fantastic way of generating new leads.
In fact, when it comes to purchase consideration, third party reviews and features are seen as much more credible in the eyes of a consumer. This is because they are less likely to show bias or to have been manipulated, thanks to stringent vetting processes.
Developing and pitching your story and securing press coverage is not easy however and can be a time consuming and frustrating process, with huge competition for coverage. After 9 years experience as a PR agency, we’ve learnt a lot and so have put together our top tips for securing press coverage as an invested business.
1. A Well Thought Out Strategy
Before you begin pitching your story or brand, you need to put a clear strategy in place to ensure your business is ready for the potential spotlight. As a growing company, it’s particularly important to consider the following:
- Is your website design and functionality up to the mark?
- Does your service or product actually work?
- Do you have a process to listen to customer feedback?
Without these things in place, the coverage you receive might not be as positive as you were hoping for!
Next, you’ll need to think about what you want to achieve from your press coverage. For example, these could be:
- Increasing brand awareness amongst your target audience.
- Securing product reviews with reputable, industry specific reviewers.
- Driving traffic to your website to increase sales.
Your PR goals will be unique to your wider business objectives, for example if you’re preparing for an upcoming funding round, a story about the growth and value of your service or product would be much more valuable than a review. In this case, milestones such as reaching 100,000 users over a short time period would be a great story to show that your company is gaining traction.
Ultimately, investing time into your PR strategy and goals before you begin pitching is an important factor when securing great coverage.
2. Create an Angle
Regardless of how solid your PR strategy is, a story will only gain traction if it is newsworthy, interesting and offers value to the audience. Writers at top publications receive on average 38,000 emails per year, with almost half saying they receive at least 20 pitches per day. With that in mind, it’s critical that your angle stands out from the crowd, especially if you’re a relative newcomer to an established industry.
Angles for your stories or press releases will vary depending on what your overall objectives are, however some common themes include:
- Data angles: These could be, “how big the problem is”, “things are going up or down”, “variation in things depending on location” or “who is best and worse at things”.
- Human interest angles: These work particularly well when they focus on personal achievements, overcoming adversity or heartfelt struggles. They enable an audience to form an emotional attachment, making them much more engaging and newsworthy.
- Social issues: Is there a current or on-trend social issue which is relevant to your product or service? If so, how could a topical story tie these together?
- Financial angles: If your revolutionary product or service helps people save money, this is always a great angle to consider.
These are just a few examples of different angles which you might consider, however regardless of the angle you pick, always think about the 5 W’s: When does the story happen? Who is the story about? Why is it relevant? Where does it take place? And most importantly, what is your story?
3. A Punchy Pitch
When you have your strategy in place and an interesting angle, it’s time to consider who should hear your story.
The first step is to draw up your list of press targets – a good way of organising these is to think of them as tier 1 and tier 2 targets. Tier 1 targets might include larger publications with a wider reach, or more niche publications who really hit the mark in terms of your target audience. Tier 2 publications might be more generic media outlets with a smaller reach or those with a broader industry focus.
Next you’ll need to put a pitch together. This should be personalised to each publication you intend to go out to and cover the key points of your story. The structure of your pitch is important and needs to be done in a way that’s easy for the editor to digest, an example structure could be:
- Begin by making your pitch personal and mentioning something they’ve written or covered, perhaps they’ve recently written about other invested businesses or produced articles relevant to your business.
- The 5 W’s are the next thing to consider in your pitch. You’ll want to quickly establish what your story is and some key points you’re aiming to get across.
- Create value. Explain clearly why your story will add value to their readers.
- Call to actions. Think about what you want to achieve as a result of your pitch?
Although it can be difficult, taking the time to craft an excellent pitch is worth the investment. As a growing business, your pitch will be even more important as you look to build relationships with editors and journalists for the first time. Pitching doesn’t stop here though; if you want to delve into the intricacies of pitching, Alexa has put together seven great tips to consider when pitching.
4. Build Relationships
As mentioned previously, if you’re starting the process of outreaching to journalists, then building strong relationships will be key to your long-term success. The first thing to remember is that journalists are busy and often under pressure. With that in mind, don’t waste their time with irrelevant pitches or suggestions. If you do, it’s not only a waste of their time, but also yours and will inevitably lead to you being ignored or added to the spam list!
If you’re successful in securing coverage, your conversations and relationships shouldn’t end here. It’s worth keeping in regular contact with your press network and a great way of doing that is to attend industry events and exhibitions. In a post-covid era, the classic in-person meeting is still the best place to find out what journalists are writing about, discuss the latest with your business and to pitch ideas. Perhaps you’ll have future news about funding rounds or new product announcements; if you do, you want to be sure that that relationship you’ve built is still there.
Amplifying your PR coverage is a superb way of maximising the traffic and brand awareness you’ll see as an invested business. To do this, there are a few things you should consider:
- Social Media: Social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all great places to share your PR coverage and shout about how great you are. When creating these posts, be sure to tag the journalists and publications in the content, so that they can also like and share with their networks.
On top of this, it’s always worth asking the publication who have agreed to your story or pitch, to share the coverage across their own social platforms. Often, they’ll have thousands of followers and so this is another great way of increasing brand awareness amongst your target audience.
- SEO: One method for improving your SEO as an invested business is to create a “press” page on your website. As well as this being a great way to showcase positive reviews and stories, a press page can also help you rank in the search engines for branded keywords. You can take a look at what should be included in a press page here.
- Newsletters: Take advantage of your email marketing campaigns and use these to tell subscribers about your recent press coverage. Not only is this a fantastic way of keeping your customer base up to date, but could see lapsed customers converted into leads.
- As Seen In: If you’ve secured coverage in well-known, credible publications, you should consider adding in their logos to your website home page. This doesn’t always need to be linked to the coverage however, as you’ll want people to stay on your website.
By following these 5 tips, you’ll be well on your way to not only securing coverage for your invested business, but creating a long-term, successful PR campaign!