media relations

How To Craft A Story The Press Will Care About

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Okay so you’ve decided to take the leap! You are ready to take your brand to the next level and activate a press campaign. You have a popping website, your Instagram looks clean and you know that you provide an amazing product for your client.  Now, it’s time to reach out to the media and get featured!

You’ve seen a million people get featured on podcasts, magazines,etc. It can’t be that hard, right? WRONG. Public relations is all about RELATIONSHIP BUILDING, being an asset to journalists, writers, producers, etc. In order for you to be an asset/valuable resource, you have to develop a story that the press will care about.  Here’s how:

  1. Pay attention to what they write about- Just because someone writes for Essence, that doesn’t mean that they will write about YOU! Each editor/writer has their own beat/industry that they cover. Someone that is a beauty writer is not going to care about your new tech app unless it is beauty related. So before you press send on that email, be sure that you are paying attention to the writer and the stories they’ve featured in the past. Ask yourself the following questions,

Have they covered this before?

Does this seem like something that they would be interested in?

Why would it be interesting to them?

How am I positioning myself as a thought leader and asset by providing them with this story line.


2. It’s all about New News-  No one wants to continuously talk about the same old thing. After a while, it gets boring right? It’s the same thing with crafting your brand story. Sure, your competition may have just been featured for a similar product, but perhaps you have a different viewpoint. Here’s the thing, there is nothing new under the sun. It is all about how you position yourself. So for instance, if I am a makeup artist that just created a new vegan eyeshadow pallette, as I am preparing to pitch myself to the media, I am going to focus on reasons why I created my palette (for the sake of this example, let’s say I suffered from rashes using MAC/Sephora make up) and it being a timely story, (my pallette will be released Summer 2018) This will be of interest to the press because


  1. You are pitching to editors, writers who cover similar stories

  2. Your product is new/has just been released

  3. You are providing them with information that their audience needs


3. If at first you don’t succeed, try again- Let’s face it, you may not always get it right on the first try. Pitching to the press is about relationships and also trial and error. Sometimes in order to figure out what people will care about, you have to figure out what they don’t care about first. And this takes time. You may want to start with one set of outlets first ie podcasts, bloggers, etc and work your way up. This way, you have time to build upon your story, create and maximize current press opportunities and connect with bigger outlets all at the same time. Following up is key when it comes to creating rapport, getting featured in the press and establishing yourself in your industry


4 Ways To Connect With Journalists

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Public relations is all about building and maintaining relationships. At the end of the day, editors, writers and reporters are (or at least they should be),  every PR girls best friend. In order to get your clients featured in a magazine, podcast or on television, you must identify the appropiate angle/segment and the right editor.


One of the biggest reasons you may not be receiving a response on your media pitch is because you are not talking to the right person. As I have said before, we are now in a digital age. That means that information is available to us with the click of a button. Researching and compiling a media list of potential outlets that may be interested in your clients story gets you one step closer to being featured.


Here are 4 ways you can connect with journalists:

  1. Email Introduction- Pay attention to your PR friends and their social media. See what bloggers and editors are covering their clients. Ask them to send an email introduction with you and the prospective person. Never be afraid to use your resources.

   2. Get Engaged- Follow them on social media. Take note of what they tweet about, take note of the stories that they share on Instagram. Don’t try to pitch them right away, but engage in conversation. Figure out what you have in common. Remember, the goal is to build a RELATIONSHIP.


3. Set A Date- Once you have established a semi-rapport, reach out to them directly. Invite them to your client’s upcoming event- not to cover/pitch, but to simply attend. This will give them a taste of what it’s like to attend an event coordinated by your firm/business. Or simply invite them to their favorite restaurant (on you of course) for a quick chat. Once the date is set, don’t forget to bring them a small token of appreciate for their time including but not limited to a journal, a book written by their favorite author, gift card, etc. You don’t have to break the bank on this but you definitely need to ensure that you value their time and willingness to join you.


4. Meet & Greet- Is their blog/publication having an event? If so, this is your time to show up and show out! Put on your best dress for the occasion and get ready to make an impression. Attending industry events are always great ways for you to expand your network, press rolodex and meet prospective clients. Face to face interaction gives them the opportunity to see that you are more than a name behind a computer screen and will give a human touch to your work.

Did you enjoy these tips? Comment down below and tell us some of your favorite ways to connect with journalists.


5 Things You Can Do While Waiting On Your Next Media Interview

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Like we always say, pitching is both an art and a science. It takes time to craft the right pitch, for the right person at the right time. So when you land an interview or feature, the excitement is through the roof, right? Getting featured in print and sometimes online publications have a lead  time of 3-4 months. For example, if you want to be featured in Essence’s March Issue, you will need to pitch them in December, no later than around January 15th or so. This means that if you secure 3-5 print press opportunities for your client (or yourself), then you will have to wait 2-3 months for the story to hit stands.

While you are waiting on your press hits, here are a few things you can do to continue to increase visibility and brand awareness.

  1. Assess Your Press Goals- Think about your press goals now that you have secured a few of them.  Are your key messages the same? What are the next steps to garnering more press? Are you creating a new product/service? What outlets are you still wanting to target? Assessing your PR goals will help set the tone for the next phase of your campaign.

  2. Pitch Other Publications- Don’t get too comfortable with the features that you have previously secured. Remember, you are only as good as your latest interview. You must be consistent in your publicity efforts. Reach out to other publications that you think may be interested in your brand.

  3. Update Your Press Kit + Brand Materials- Your media kit is key to building relationships with potential sponsors and investors. While you are waiting on your next press clippings, be sure to update your media kit. It needs to include all of your interviews and featured and reflect the latest look of your brand. Also, make sure your visuals ie photos, social media platforms and websites are updated with your press/media coverage.

  4. Collaborate With Influencers- If you have a beauty brand, you can collaborate with influencers by having a specific YouTuber or Instagram create their own cosmetics line under your name. Or if you have a book, you can reach out to various influencers who are well known thought leaders in your industry to do virtual book tours, reviews, etc.

  5. Host An Event- Events are always great ways to bring together key players and potential customers. Take some time and plan out your next event, whether it is a pop up shop, or a panel discussion, an event for your brand is another way for you to leverage press, invite bloggers/local media and add to your media kit

How To Develop Your Press Plan

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So as a business owner, it’s your goal to increase, revenue, impact and brand awareness, right? Well how do you expect to do that if know one knows you exist?

One of the best ways to market and go your brand is to: GET IN THE PRESS. Before you get all excited about the outlets that you want to get featured in, you MUST develop your press plan! It is your road map to S. media success.

Here are a few tips below to help DIY + activate a PR Campaign:

  1. Think about your objective- What is the overall goal you want to accomplish? Are you starting a PR campaign to garner sales for a book launch? Do you want to invite influencers to your event? Once you determine your objective, that will help you figure out who you need to target and what outlets are a fit for your campaign.

  2. Figure out your strategy- What methods are you going to use in order to fufill your objective? Are you going to pitch to the local press and bloggers only? Do you need to connect with social media influencers and print journalists? Write out 3-5 strategies that will help you accomplish your goals. These strategies could include: developing a press release, creating a media list, researching the top 10 people within your industry and their methods, etc.

  3. Describe the people that you want to reach during your campaign- Who is in your target audience? What age are they, where do they like to hang out? Why are they a fit for your product/service? These are all questions that you must think about prior to beginning outreach. You have to be CRYSTAL CLEAR on who your core audience is for this particular campaign. Depending on what you are offering, your target audience will be different for outlets and influencers. Ex: a female owned beauty app has at least 3 target audience: tech, beauty and women owned companies.

  4. Who can help you share your story?- Write out the targeted outlets that are a fit for your brand. Identify the top 20-35 outlets and create a media list with contact information, including email addresses, phone numbers and the office address.  We will share more on this next week

HOW TO GET THE MEDIA TO SAY YES TO YOUR MEDIA PITCH

So, you’ve created your PR Plan, have all of the visuals/photos created and the website is perfect. You have your media list developed and now you are ready to pitch. But, wait! Before you press the SEND button on that email, let’s review a few things first.

Keep in mind that pitching to the media is an art. It takes time, good energy and a strategic approach.

Here are 4 ways to get the media to say Yes To Your Pitch:

  1. Personalize Each Pitch According To The Writer/Editor- Writers/Editors are EXTREMELY busy. They have deadlines to meet, events to attend and of course, news, to report. No matter what the beat is, every industry is constantly buzzing with new trends, celebrity tie-ins, updated reports and more. If you want to  secure press in a timely manner, it is crucial for you show that you’ve done your homework- the very first time you pitch. It’s not enough to say: “Hi Marianne” and then go into your pitch. Compliment the writer on their latest pitch, ask what they are currently working on and let them know how your client is a fit. Make sure it’s CLEAR that you know who they are, what they like to cover and what they are interested in.

2. Ask For What You Want- Focus on your overall goal for outreach. Do you want a feature or interview? Do you want to be featured on their online news segment? When you are pitching, let the writer know how you’d like to work with them and the publication. Again, it’s important to be specific and do your research. Before you pitch and ask for the feature, make their job EASY. For example, if you are pitching for a local TV segment, include the name of the segment, 3-5 talking points, why the audience would be interested and you/your client’s reel.  Editors/writers have enough on their plates, you want to be a valuable resource/liaison, show them that you are an asset to their job. Have all materials including the press kit, photos, bio, etc on hand, stay ready so you don’t have to scramble and get ready.


3.) Following Up Is Key- Most times, you won’t get the yes you are looking for the first time you pitch, so it is important for you to follow up with the key outlets you want to reach. Do not follow up with the same pitch. Instead, ask if it is something that they are interested in. Pay attention to the stories that they have written during the time that you pitched them and follow up with how your business/client is a fit and/or how you can add a different perspective to the story line.

    4.) Check The Submission Guidelines- This may seem like a simple step, but it is one that people often overlook. Every outlet, especially those that are digital have certain guidelines on how to pitch them. You must also look at the editorial calendar to assist you in developing press angles that are in alignment with the outlet themes, media coverage and more. You can also create a press calendar for your business/client(s) based on the editorial calendar as well.


3 Things You Need To Secure Press Coverage

Getting your brand featured in magazines, online publications, etc can help to increase brand awareness, enhance credibility and position you to become a thought leader in your industry.

But before you can begin outreach, there are a few things you must take into consideration that can drastically help you increase your chances of securing top tier press.

Here are 3 things you need to get press coverage:

1.) A Solid Media Pitch- Your media pitch must be creative, interesting to the editor/writer you are reaching out to and relevant! When creating your pitch, you have to keep the person you are pitching to in mind. What have they already covered? What types of stories to they like to write about? Be sure to let them know that you have read their work, give a compliment. Remember, it's all about relationship building!


2.) An Updated Media List- As you are preparing to pitch, it is crucial that you create AND update your media list. Although you can purchase a list from resources like Cision, Melt Water, and Easy Media List, if you are just starting out, they can be quite expensive and can be a tad outdated. To save coin and the hassle of not having the correct info, create your list on an Excel sheet, use Twitter, Instagram and sites like Rocket Reach to get journalists info. Once your list is created, keep it handy so that you can note who you contacted, the date and their response. This will help you as you are following up with various outlets and contacts.

3.) A Visual Platform- Editors and reporters alike are going to research you. You need to have a working website, be consistent in your social media and last but certainly not least: PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS. While everyone has to start from somewhere, you CANNOT afford to slack on your photos. They must be 300dpi as this is standard for print. Your photography must showcase your brand story and be in alignment with your brand colors.

Once you have these, you are ready to go out and secure amazing press coverage for your brand!




What To Do When An Editor Rejects You

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So you signed on a new client!!  You’ve spent time researching, creating their PR Plan and developing the pitch. You are now ready to begin the outreach process and book interviews/features. Your media list is in hand and you’ve spent the past week pitching your heart out!

You get excited when you FINALLY get a response from the editor, only to open an email  that says,

“Thanks for sending this over! At this time, we’re going to pass.”

By this being your first round of pitches for this PR campaign, you were really looking forward to your client being featured in this particular outlet, and now, you are CRUSHED!

What should you do now that they have rejected your pitch? Here are 5 steps.

1. Be Polite- Thank them for their time. After all, they took time out to open up and read your email! Ask them to keep you posted on new + upcoming stories in the future

2. Identify The Opportunity For Growth- Check and read over your pitch. Read it back about 2 times and put yourself in the shoes of the editor. Does it sound compelling to you? Is it too long? Is there enough information? Did you highlight all NEWSWORTHY aspects? If you need to make changes, now is the time to do so before you continue outreach to other publications

3. Find A New Angle- Think about the various ways you can pitch your client. Maybe they are a beauty app founded by an African American veteran. That’s at least 4 different angles: Beauty, App (tech), Black Owned, Business and former military personnel. With those angles, that means there are at least 8 different writers you can pitch to.

4. Timing Is Everything-  In pitching, the timing is EVERYTHING. Perhaps you initially pitched the editor at the end of summer when they had previous stories, deadlines, etc. Keep them on your radar, however, don’t continuously pitch them. Wait awhile. Pitch them again at a new quarter when your client creates a new product, launch, etc.

5. Keep The Faith- Media pitching can be a bit frustrating at times because of the passion that you have for your clients and their brand. No matter what you have to keep the faith in your client, their products and most importantly YOUR ABILITIES! You were made for this! You are an amazing publicist and you get better with time!!! Believe in yourself, continue to study your craft and know that you got this!!! Also, visualize your outcome! Make a vision board of placements and keep it on your desk while you work. Watch how things begin to manifest!


6 Steps To Garnering Press With A New Media Contact

I’ll never forget the moment when I got an email from an editor at Vibe Magazine telling me that I landed my client an interview!

I was sooo excited! I couldn’t believe it! I had just opened my firm a few weeks before and was nervous about pitching this client , (who I considered to be MAJOR at the time), because I didn’t have any media connections on the top tier national level.

And what’s a publicists with no media connections? Not a publicist at all, right?

The bottom line is this: We all have to start from somewhere! Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged because you don’t have established relationships with the media, YET!

Here are 6 Steps To Garnering Press With A New Media Contact

  1. Be Intentional-Research their most recent articles. Is what you want to pitch a fit? Does it seem like something they would be interested in covering? Follow them on social media. Make sure you know the publication that they currently write for and the beat that they are covering (If you don’t know what a beat is, I suggest you Google it, ASAP!).

  2. Check With Your PR Bestie- Before hitting send on that initial email/pitch, check with your PR bestie. Perhaps they already have a contact for that editor or outlet  and can send an introduction on your behalf. This is why collaborations and connecting with other publicists are key. You never know how you can help each other

  3. Introduce Yourself Via Email- If your bestie doesn’t know the contact personally, be the amazingly proactive publicist that you are and reach out directly via email. Let them know who you are, what you do and the clients you represent that you feel would be a fit for upcoming stories, etc. Ask them what they are currently working on, compliment them on the latest article.

  4. Send A Soft Pitch- Don’t bombard them with media kits, press releases, etc. Send a short and sweet email, no more than 5 sentences about your client and ask if they would like to receive more information.

  5. Follow Up- When pitching to the media, following up is key, especially when you are trying to build a relationship with a new contact. They may not respond the first time because they don’t recognize the email addy, are on deadline or uninterested in covering at the moment.

  6. Show Up And Show Out- When you finally get that email stating that they want to cover/set up an interview, be sure to thank them for their time, send over all materials, talking points, etc. Once the interview takes place, make sure you and your client are on time, polite and have a great energy. After sending everything over, thank them again and follow up for the press clipping/link

How To Land Your First 3 Clients

So you bought your domain, got a logo and business cards created, along with filed your LLC. You officially own a PR firm, now all you need is the clients! Landing your first client can be stressful, especially if you are running your business full time. Here’s how you can land your first 3 clients, get paid and start running the town with PR Campaigns, events, etc.

  1. Collaborate-  As you know, we strongly believe in collaborating with others to reach a win-win for all involved. Reach out to a graphic designer, brand manager and writer. Let them know that you own a PR firm and are actively seeking new clients. Be sure to have your Capabilities Deck packaged to perfection and send it over to them. Offer a referral fee for each client that they send your way, also offer to send them business as well.  You have just successfully created your first Strategic Partnership.See what we did there?

  2. Social Media Is Your BFF- I literally landed my first 2 clients based on a Twitter search! Use social media to your advantage. Post about your services, post previous press links that you’ve gotten for clients and search IG, Facebook and Twitter to see who needs a publicist. Send them a tweet, DM, etc and follow up with your pitch to set up a consultation. Make sure that your page is public, professional and positive. People need your help and are looking for an amazing publicist, go find them and secure the bag!

3. Expand Your Expertise- You need to get more visible in the marketplace. Submit a guest post on your favorite blog that will capture the attention of your ideal client. Secure an interview for yourself on a business podcast where you can give tips and tools on PR and Marketing. Put yourself in a position to create your own opportunities

4. Create A Client Wishlist- You have not because you ask not. Take time out and think about who you really want to serve and why. Then create your ideal client wishlist. Be sure to add their website, email, social media handles, etc. Check to see if they currently have representation and if not, begin to pitch your life a way! You should land your first client in the next 30 Days


5.Host An Event-People need to know that you exist and see what you’re made of. What better way to showcase your skills than to coordinate an event full of potential clients, influencers, media and more? Make this a FREE event. Research and partner with a venue that will allow you to utilize their space for low-to no cost.  Have a well known blogger host the event, invite potential clients, businesses that are apart of the industry you want to work in, etc. Make it a night to remember with networking, food, and a great panel.