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 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:
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
You are pitching to editors, writers who cover similar stories
Your product is new/has just been released
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. Followiing up is key when it comes to creating rapport, getting featured in the press and establishing yourself in your industry
A press campaign is a series of activities that are strategically planned to help a company and/business increase awareness and exposure. Sure, you can research Google about the components that are involved like press releases, media pitches, sponsorship decks, etc. It will even let you know that you need to identify your audience, decide on press angles and learn how to evaluate your success metrics. While all of this is important information, there are a few other things that you need to when making the decision to implement a press campaign for your brand.
When did you decide that the PR industry was for you?
My freshmen year in college, I became the public relations coordinator for the freshmen class executive board. After successfully working on a few PR campaigns and events I fell in love.
What inspired you to start your agency?
After applying to over 100 jobs pre and post graduation from undergrad I was fed up. Needing to meet drastic criteria such as 10 years of work experience and a masters degree, which I was entering into in the fall but the work experience I didn't have I had just finished school. So instead of being depressed or feeling sorry for myself, I started my agency. Granted I had the government job that I had been at for years, but it wasn't my passion, it wasn't what I received my degree or getting ready to receive my master's degree in. I always knew I wanted to start my own agency, but not as early as 21, I imaged 25; but God had different plans.
Give us a glimpse of your day to day life as a publicist?
Normally I'll have about 4-5 discovery calls a day, my work day starts at 10 am and ends at 7 pm. Throughout the day I work on different client assignments. They can vary from social media clean-up, pitching to the media, securing media placements and sponsorships. I can also have meetings outside of phone calls, events to attend. On even better days, I can be taking flights to clients for one-day meetings or I can be in another state for a big event for a client to ensure red carpet management is going smoothly. The life of a publicist you never know!
What is some of the best advice you have been given?
I have given a lot of advice to Public Relations students, clients, and aspiring publicist. I always tell them to meet their consumers at the door, don't waste your time where your consumer is not.
Gain a lot of experience through internships in the industry you want to work under, don't waste your time hopping from job to job and internship to internships that will not help you overall. Lastly, go out and network, never wait for the opportunity to come to you.
Name your top 3 PR campaigns to date?
Former NFL Wide Recieve Youth Camp securing local media and over eleven top-tier sponsorships.
Achieving several top-tier Brand ambassador deals and securing a spot as a model in the top BET Award Weekend Fashion show for a client.
Helping increase a client's sales by turning their followers into consumers through new innovative social media strategies.
Words every publicist should live by?
"Pitching is a habit"
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As we’ve stated before, media pitching is both an art and a science. It’s about being positioned at the right place and the right time for maximum exposure for your brand, (or your client’s brand). Whether you are a newbie publicist or trying to DIY, there are a few things you must know when it comes to media pitching.
1. Pitching to the WRONG Editor- Public relations and securing placement is all about being strategic. Different editors, writers, reporter, etc cover different beats. Some focus on business/corportations, some focus on entrepreneurship/lifestyle brands. Prior to outreach, you must determine the category/beat that your brand is a fit for. Keep in mind your story angle to help you figure out which editor/writer would be best to reach out. If you are still unsure, send them a quick note asking them if they would be interested in covering your story. More than likely, they will introduce you to the appropriate contact.
2. Your Subject Line is TOO BORING- In order to capture the media’s attention, you must have an attention grabbing subject line! It has to excite the editor enough to make them want to open your email. For instance, if you are pitching a hair extension company, think about what makes the company different from their competition. If they have a special gala for Breast Cancer every year, your subject line may be: How This Beauty Brand Is Making A Difference For Women Battling Breast Cancer. It gives them an idea of what the story is about and intrigues them to learn more.
3. You don’t FOLLOW UP ENOUGH- In pitching the media, just like all things business wise, the key is in the follow up. As a rule of thumb, follow up with editors three times max. So you may pitch them on January 1st for an upcoming Valentine’s Day story; if you don’t get a response, follow up on the January 15th and again on the 20th. Each time you follow up, give the editors NEW INFORMATION. Ask them if they are interested in doing a review or product feature. Be sure to research the current stories they have written about. That way, you can tie in your product/service and they know you are familiar with their work.
The next time you activate a PR campaign, keep these tips in mind for media outreach.
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:
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.
In order to create and execute an effective PR campaign, you must understand the fundamentals i.e. how to identify your why, develop key messages a media pitch, etc.
Creating the ultimate PR plan requires you to think outside of the box, be creative and focus on the important aspects of your brand. Before you can begin to craft a media pitch or develop your media list. You must first identify your why in business.
Think about why a media outlet would be interested in featuring you? What do you have going on that's relevant? Why would they be interested in your story?
So, you want to focus on what inspired you to start and your target audience. Think about why you are attracting the target audience that you have and you what it is you have to offer them. Identifying your why gives a clear angle of exactly what you are going to pitch to various media outlets and how you are going to pitch it to them.
Think about what problem you help your core audience solve? Why do they need you? Even if you feel like you haven’t had that much success in business,YOU ARE STILL NEEDED!
People need your products and services and creating your PR plan will help bring visibility to your business (which equals more awareness and potential customers).
For example, let’s say you're just starting out with your lip-gloss company and you have started it because your daughter had an allergic reaction to some lip balm she purchased from the drugstore. That’s your why and apart of your brand story! So when you develop your media pitch, one press angle you could use is: 9 Year Old Starts Lip Gloss Company After Suffering Allergic Reaction.
And from there, you can expand your angles depending on the publications that you are pitching. But remember, it all starts with identifying your why and researching what messages resonate with your audience.
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.
So you’ve created the hottest cosmetics line, your packaging is on point and your website is absolutely stunning. Sure, you’ve even gotten a few press hits, but in order to take to the next level, increase your brand awareness and visibiliity, you know it’s time for a Brand Ambassador. But, what’s the first step? Who should you choose?
Here are 4 tips to help you secure a Brand Ambassador For Your Business:
4. Protect Yourself + Keep Your Word- Once you secure your first Brand Ambassador, be sure to send a contract outlining all the details, dates they will receive product, how many times you want them to post on social media, etc. Last but certainly not least, make sure you are honoring your end of the deal. Each time you send product, provide them with a tracking number, require signature, etc. Make sure you provide them with all social media handles as this will assist in growing your following as well.
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 media success.
Here are a few tips below to help DIY + activate a PR Campaign:
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:
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.