Wondering how to get press and media coverage for your small business without hiring an expensive PR firm? If so, you’re in luck! This guide will discuss getting free press and media coverage for your business.
We’ll go over how to identify reporters who might be interested in writing about your company, how to craft a compelling story, and how to reach out to reporters. Plus, we’ll provide tips on how to make the most of any media coverage you receive. So read on for all the details.
- The benefits of media coverage for small businesses
- Establish Reasonable Goals and be realistic in your expectations
- How to Get Press Step #1: But First, What’s in it for THEM?
- How to Get Press Step #2: Decide who you want to reach.
- How to Get Press Step #3: Find and Make a List of Potential Reporters/Outlets Who Cover Your Industry or Topic Area
- How to Get Press Step #4: Reach out, don’t pitch.
- How to Get Press Step #5: Craft your pitch
- How to Get Press Step #6: How to send the pitch
- How to Get Press Step #7: Be prepared to follow up
- How to Get Press Step #8: What to do after your pitch is accepted?
- Twelve PR tools for small businesses
- Media Coverage Frequently Asked Questions
- Now you know how to get press, it’s time to TAKE ACTION!
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The benefits of media coverage for small businesses
Why is media exposure good for small businesses? There are a few key reasons:
Helps build credibility: being featured in the press can help your small business appear more credible, especially to potential customers.
Increases visibility and reach: media coverage can help increase the visibility of your small business and reach new audiences.
Drives more traffic and sales: exposure from media coverage can increase web traffic and sales for your small business. This is the holy grail of public relations efforts.
For the reasons mentioned, it’s worthwhile to incorporate pitching for more media coverage to supplement your digital marketing efforts.
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of press and media coverage, let’s move on to how you can get it for free!
Establish Reasonable Goals and be realistic in your expectations
Where a lot of small business owners get tripped up is in their expectations. They think that if they can just get one media hit, they’ll see a massive uptick in sales and web traffic.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work that way. Press and media coverage is just one piece of the puzzle regarding marketing your small business.
That’s why it’s essential to set realistic goals for what you want to achieve with the press and media exposure. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Boost sales?
Once you’ve established realistic goals, you can move on to the next step: identifying reporters who might be interested in your story.
How to Get Press Step #1: But First, What’s in it for THEM?
It’s good that you’d benefit from a media story, but what’s in it for the reporter? Why should they care about your small business?
You need to be able to answer that question before you start reaching out to reporters. Think about what makes your story unique and interesting and how it would be relevant to their audience.
This requires research on your part. But it will be worth it because once you know how to pitch your story, you’ll have a much better chance of getting media coverage.
Is your story newsworthy?
What makes you click through to read an article online or turn to a specific page in a magazine? Often, it’s because the news story is interesting, timely, or even controversial.
The same principles apply when trying to get press for your small business.
So ask yourself: is my story newsworthy? Is it interesting? Timely? Controversial? If the answer is yes, then you might have a shot at getting media coverage.
Let’s break this down even further.
What is your one-sentence value proposition?
To make sure you’re pitching the right reporters, you need to be able to articulate your story in one sentence. This is your value proposition, which should be clear, concise, and engaging.
Consider your value proposition when thinking about your media story: What will make my story interesting to the target audience (and the journalist)?
If the subject is newsworthy for the target audience, it’s likely to pique the journalist’s attention.
Value proposition example 1: Pet Store Owner
For example, let’s say you own a pet store. A reporter who covers business might not be interested in your story, but a reporter who covers pets might be intrigued if your story relates to a trend they see in the pet industry.
A value proposition could be: “Pet stores are seeing an increase in sales of products that cater to pet owners’ needs for convenience and health.”
Value proposition example 2: Business Coach
If you’re a business coach, what’s your value proposition?
An average value proposition might be: “I help business owners scale their businesses by teaching them how to delegate and build systems.”
A better value prop would be: “I help busy business owners who have hit a plateau learn how to delegate and build systems so they can make more money and impact while working less.”
You can narrow it down by industry, target market, or even pain point.
For example: “I help busy owners of yoga studios who have hit a plateau learn how to delegate and build systems so they can make more money and impact while working less.”
See how that’s more specific, interesting, and relatable? That’s the kind of pitch reporters are looking for.
Value proposition example 3: Sustainable Graphic Designer
Let’s look at another example.
Let’s say you’re a graphic designer specializing in building eco-friendly websites (like our fab brand and web designer Colleen Keith).
Your value proposition could be: “I help business owners build fast and user-friendly websites that effectively communicate their brand while also positively impacting the environment.”
Explore possible story angles
Then ask, “why would a reporter care about this?” and list down some possible angles such as:
An increasing trend over the past decade of customers wanting to buy from eco-friendly businesses
The rising trend of sustainable web design
How small businesses can do more good by going green, increasing profit, and attracting more clients at the same time, etc.
These are just some examples, but you get the idea. Once you have your value proposition and list of possible angles, you’re ready to start reaching out to reporters.
Let’s say you know that one of the reporters you want to pitch covers environmental issues. You could tweak your value proposition: “I help small businesses build fast websites that improve brand perception and leave a positive environmental impact.”
See how that’s more targeted and interesting? You’re addressing a pain point (brand perception) while also speaking to the reporter’s interests (the environment).
Remember, always keep your audience (and the publication’s audience) in mind when crafting your value proposition. In this case, we’re specifically talking about reporters and media outlets.
What makes a newsworthy story?
A few questions to ask when considering if a story is newsworthy or not:
- Does it affect a large number of people?
- Is it time-sensitive?
- Is it unique/different from the competition?
- Is there a human interest element to the story (i.e., drama, emotion)?
- Are you an expert on the subject matter?
Your story doesn’t have to check all of these boxes, but if it hits a few, then you’re likely onto something newsworthy.
How to Get Press Step #2: Decide who you want to reach.
Now that you know what kind of story you’re trying to tell, it’s time to consider potential reporters or outlets who might be interested in hearing it.
To carry on from our sustainable web designer example, some reporters or outlets you might want to target could be:
- Environmental journalists who write for online publications
- Technology reporters who write for trade magazines
- Sustainable business bloggers
- Reporters who cover small businesses or entrepreneurship.
How to Get Press Step #3: Find and Make a List of Potential Reporters/Outlets Who Cover Your Industry or Topic Area
There are several ways to find reporters who cover your topic.
Find reporters using Google.
Simply type in keywords related to your story and see what comes up.
For our environmental web designer example, we could search for :
- “environmental issues” + “media list”
- “sustainable web design” + “trade publications”
- and other variations.
Find reporters on social media.
Twitter is a great place to start, as many journalists are active on the platform and regularly share their work. You can also search for relevant hashtags such as #journorequest or #PRrequest.
We’ve also had success in finding journalists through Linkedin. You can use the people search function and filter by location, job title, etc.
Research specific publications in your industry
Another great way to find reporters is by looking at the masthead of a publication you’re already aware of and are interested in. The masthead is a list of all the people working at the publication, including the editors and reporters.
If you want to target a specific publication, this is a great way to find reporters who cover topics that are relevant to you. For example, if we want to target the publication “Environmental Issues Today,” we could look at their masthead and find contact information for reporters who cover topics like sustainability.
Here’s a neat hack courtesy of Kelsey Ogletree, Independent journalist, and Founder of Pitchcraft.
Consider different types of media
For us folks who grew up before the internet was created (i.e., Baby boomers, Gen-Xers, and some Gen-Y’rs), we associate press and media with print newspapers and magazines. However, there are other types of media now besides print form.
The question is – what media is your target audience consuming?
So you might want to consider pitching to get featured in
thought leader blog posts and articles
popular youtube channels
social media profiles of influencers in your niche.
It really depends on your story and who you’re trying to reach that can help your business grow.
Use sites that connect journalists to experts.
Another great way to find potential reporters is through sites like Help a Reporter Out (HARO). HARO is a platform that connects journalists with sources for their stories.
As a small business owner, you can sign up to receive daily or weekly emails with different story opportunities from reporters. If you see an opportunity that fits your business well, you can reach out and pitch yourself as a source.
HARO is just one example of a site that connects journalists with experts. There are other similar platforms out there, which we’ll share below in the “PR tools for small businesses” section.
Gather contact details for relevant journalists and editors.
We recommend creating a spreadsheet or using CRM software to track all the potential reporters’ contact information. This way, you can easily reference it later when you start pitching your story.
For each journalist or editor on your list, make sure to include:
- Their name
- Their job title
- The publications they write for
- Their email address (if possible)
- Their Twitter handle (if possible).
Remember that not every journalist will have their email address or Twitter handle publicly available. If this is the case, don’t worry! We’ll share how to find contact information for journalists who don’t have it listed below.
Find Email Addresses of Journalists
How can you find a journalist’s email address if it’s not publicly listed on their website?
There are a few ways to do this:
– Use a tool like Hunter.io to find email addresses. You can enter the website URL of the publication the journalist writes for, and Hunter.io will give you a list of email addresses associated with that domain.
– Look for patterns in email addresses. Many journalists’ email addresses follow a similar format, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know the reporter’s first and last name, you can try guessing their email address using this format.
– Use Google search operators. You can use specific Google search operators to find contact information not publicly listed on websites. For example, you can search “site:publication.com intext:first name last name” to see if the journalist’s contact information is listed anywhere on their publication’s website.
– Check the publication’s media kit. Many publications list the contact information for their reporters in their media kit. You can usually find a link to the media kit on the publication’s website, or you can Google “[Publication] + media kit.”
Don’t waste money on mass distribution services or expensive PR professionals.
It’s easy to waste money when you’re first starting with PR. One common mistake small businesses make is paying for a mass distribution service that sends their press release to hundreds or even thousands of reporters.
While this might seem like a quick way to get your story in front of many people, it’s not an effective use of your time or money. In most cases, these services don’t target specific reporters who are likely to be interested in your story. As a result, you waste time and money on pitches that go nowhere.
Instead of using a mass distribution service, we recommend taking the time to research and pitch individual reporters who are more likely to be interested in your story. This may take more time upfront, but it’s a more effective use of your resources.
Leverage your network.
Your network is one of your most valuable resources for getting press coverage. If you know someone who’s already connected to the reporter or editor you’re trying to reach, ask them for an introduction.
Remember that your network doesn’t have to consist of other business owners or entrepreneurs.
It can also include friends, family members, or even people you’ve met through social media. If you know someone who knows someone who could help you get in touch with a reporter, don’t hesitate to ask for an introduction.
Build rapport with journalists long before you need them.
Another common mistake small businesses make is only reaching out to journalists when they need something, such as their product or service coverage. If you only contact reporters with something to promote, it’s unlikely they’ll pay attention to your pitches.
Instead, try to build rapport with reporters long before you need their help. Here are a few ways to do this:
Learn what they care about. It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: understand your audience. If you’re irrelevant, you will be ignored.
Send them story tips. And not just yours. To show your worth as an expert in your field, share information about the industry, not just self-promotional content.
Make helpful introductions. When you connect two people who could benefit from each other, you open up opportunities for both of them – and build goodwill in the process. The more you assist a journalist in building their network, the more likely they will assist you in building yours.
Publicly share and praise their articles. Be genuine, not self-interested. When your next big story comes out, it will increase their chance of returning the favor.
Follow them on social media and engage with their content (if they post any)
Connect with them via direct message (not sure what to say? Try complimenting their work, giving honest feedback to improve, or asking for advice)
Attend events they’re speaking at (or even just events they’re attending).
If you have the opportunity to meet them in person, take it!
By taking the time to build relationships with reporters before you need their help, you increase the chances they’ll be interested in your story when you do eventually pitch a story. The more familiar they are with you and your work, the more likely they will be interested in what you have to say.
Pitch journalists rather than publications.
What’s the difference? A publication is a general outlet (think: The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur), while a journalist is an individual reporter who writes for that outlet.
Pitching to journalists rather than publications is more effective when you’re trying to get press coverage. That’s because each journalist covers different topics and is always looking for new story ideas that fit within their beat (a beat is the specific topics a reporter covers).
Read their work before pitching them an idea to ensure it’s a good fit.
Pitch journalists who have already covered a similar topic.
If you’re not familiar with who to pitch your story, then an excellent place to start is by finding journalists who have already written about a similar topic.
This way, you know they’re interested in that particular subject, and you can tailor your pitch to their interests.
To find these journalists, try searching for a related keyword on Google and then click on the “News” tab. This will show you a list of recent articles written on that topic.
You can click on the author’s byline to see their contact information. Once again, read their work before pitching them an idea so that you know it’s a good fit.
When sending a message to them, you can say, “I saw you wrote an article about XYZ. I have a related story that I think would be a great fit for your publication.“
Twitter can be a fantastic tool for small businesses trying to get press coverage.
That’s because it lets you directly connect and build rapport with reporters, editors, and other influencers in your industry.
Twitter has even put out its own guide on how journalists can best engage with their audience via its platform. Furthermore, journalists have been known to put tweets directly into new stories.
Here are a few tips for using Twitter to get press:
Use relevant hashtags when sharing your content. This will help make sure your tweets show up in relevant search results.
@Mention reporters, editors, and other influencers when tweeting about something related to their work. They’re more likely to see your tweet (and potentially share it) if you mention them directly.
Retweet or share content from reporters and publications with whom you want to build relationships. This helps get their attention and lets them know that you’re paying attention to their work.
Remember, the goal is to build relationships with reporters long before you need their help. By connecting with them on social media, attending events they’re speaking at, and sharing their work with your network, you increase the chances they’ll be interested in your story when you eventually pitch it to them.
Use community forums to your advantage.
Online communities and community forums can be great places to get press for your small business.
Not only can you connect with potential customers and build relationships with other companies in your industry, but you can also find journalists who might be interested in your story.
For example, suppose you have a restaurant. In that case, you can search for relevant community forums (like Yelp Talk or TripAdvisor) and see if any reporters or publications are active in those forums. You can build a relationship with them by engaging in the conversation and sharing your expert insights.
Another great way to use community forums is to search for relevant industry events that journalists might be attending. This can be a great way to connect with them in person and pitch your story idea.
How to Get Press Step #4: Reach out, don’t pitch.
How do you feel when the first time someone reaches out to you or meets you at a networking function, they immediately start trying to sell you something? It’s not the best feeling, right? Reporters are people too, and they don’t like being sold to anyone more than you do.
When reaching out to a reporter or editor, your goal should be simply to start a conversation. Get to know them as a person and find out what kinds of stories they’re interested in. Only then should you start pitching them story ideas.
If you come at them with a hard sell from the beginning, they’re likely to tune you out and never want to hear from you again. But if you take the time to build a relationship with them first, they’ll be much more likely to listen when you do have something important to say.
So, what email subject lines can you use to reach out to a reporter? Here are a few ideas:
- “I loved your story on XYZ”
- “I have a similar story to share”
- “I’m a big fan of your work”
- “Here’s a different take on your story.”
These subject lines show that you’re interested in their work and have something valuable to contribute to the conversation. They’re much more likely to get opened than an email with a generic or sales-y subject line.
So you’ve got their attention with your email subject now; what do you say in the actual email?
Email script #1: fan of your work
Here’s a template you can use for your first email:
I’m a big fan of your work, and I wanted to reach out and say hello. I recently read your story on XYZ and loved it. I actually have a similar story to share that I think your readers would find interesting.
Would you be interested in hearing more?
This email accomplishes two things: it shows that you’re familiar with their work and pitches them with a story idea similar to something they’ve already written about. This increases the chances they’ll be interested in hearing more about your story.
Note also that you’re not sending the entire pitch in the first email. What you’re asking for here is simply a conversation. If they’re interested, you can then follow up with more details about your story.
Email script #2: Read your story
Here’s another template you can use to reach out to a reporter:
I recently read your story on XYZ and wanted to reach out to you. I actually have a similar story to share that I think your readers would find interesting.
Would you be interested in hearing more?
This email is similar to the first one, but it’s shorter and doesn’t mention anything specific about their work (which makes it easier to customize). Again, all you’re asking for here is a conversation. If they’re interested, you can follow up with more details later.
Email script #3: a different take on your story. Here’s one more template you can use:
I recently read your story on XYZ and wanted to reach out to you. I actually have a different take on the story that I think your readers would find interesting.
Would you be interested in hearing more?
This email is similar to the first two, but it’s pitching a different angle on a story they’ve already written. This can be a great way to get their attention, especially if you have something truly unique or controversial to say. Just make sure you’re prepared for them to ask tough questions if they decide to follow up with you!
How to Get Press Step #5: Craft your pitch
Now that you’ve got a strong value proposition and you know which journalists you’re pitching, it’s time to start pitching your story to the media.
Let’s begin with writing the actual pitch.
Personalize your media pitch.
For your pitch to have the greatest chance of success, you need to personalize it for each journalist. This means researching and tailoring your pitch specifically to their interests, beats, and needs.
A generic pitch sent to dozens of journalists is much less likely to succeed than a personalized pitch tailored specifically for one reporter.
Keep it short and sweet.
Your pitch should be short and sweet – 100 to 200 words is ideal. Most journalists are busy people and don’t have time to read a long, rambling email from someone they don’t know. Get to the point quickly and ensure your most important information is at the top of the email, which is easy for them to find.
Make it easy for them
Busy journalists don’t want to have to do a lot of work to figure out your story. So make it easy for them!
Include all the relevant information in your pitch – who, what, when, where, why, and how – so they can easily see if your story is a good fit for their needs.
And if you have any additional materials – such as photos or videos – that would help tell your story, include links to those in your email.
Write an email pitch or press release
Your pitch format will come down to personal preference. Some people prefer to write a traditional email pitch, while others prefer to write a press release. If you’re unsure which format to use, just pick the one you’re most comfortable with.
Structure of a Media Pitch
A typical structure for a media pitch looks like this:
- Subject line: A brief, attention-grabbing summary of your story (remember your 1-sentence value proposition?)
- Introduction: A sentence or two introducing yourself and why you’re pitching this story
- The Story: A few paragraphs explaining the details of your story – who, what, when, where, why, and how
- Additional Materials: Any additional photos, videos, or links that would help tell your story
- Contact Information: Your name, title, company name, website URL, phone number, and email address
And that’s it! Just remember to keep it short and sweet – journalists are busy people and don’t have time to read long emails from someone they don’t know.
Not sure how to get started? Here are some templates and examples you can use:
Email Pitch Examples
Here are some real-life examples of successful media pitches:
[Example #1 – Podcast pitch]
Here’s a cold pitch that we emailed to a podcast host. This resulted in me getting booked for this podcast interview.
[Example #2 – Laser focused cold pitch]
This example comes courtesy of Nick Wolny:
As Nick explains in this post, he typically tries to incorporate:
– A personal detail that shows this is not a stock pitch
– Proof that I’ve already read the instructions on the website
– One to three sentences on why this content would be interesting specifically for that outlet’s audience (A lot of you are missing this step)
– Either (1) my 100-word bio (placed below my signature), or (2) one sentence of polite bragging– Nick Wolny
For more media pitch templates and examples, refer to this great resource on JustReachOut.
What about press releases?
Press releases are a bit more formal than email pitches, but they can be just as effective in getting media coverage.
[Press Release Template Example]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: FIRSTNAME LASTNAME
[Your Company] Launches [Your Product] to Help [Your Target Market]
[City, State – Date] – [Your Company], a leading provider of [your product or service], is excited to announce the launch of their newest product, [your product].
[Brief description of your product and how it helps your target market.]
“We’re thrilled to be launching our newest product, [your product],” said Neo, Founder, and CEO of [your company]. “[Target market] has been struggling with [problem your product solves], and we’re confident that our new solution will help them overcome these challenges.”
[Your product] is available now on [your website or online store]. For more information, please visit [your website] or contact Neo Trinity at email@example.com.
About [Your Company]
[Your company] is a leading provider of [your product or service]. We help our customers by [how you help your customers – e.g., providing a solution to their problem]. For more information, please visit [your website], call us at 0123456789, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can see, a press release is just a formal version of an email pitch – it’s basically the same format with a few extra bits thrown in.
For more tips on preparing a compelling media pitch, check out this post from JustReadOut: 10 Media Pitch Examples Proven To Get You Press Coverage.
Once you’ve crafted your perfect pitch, it’s time to start reaching out to reporters!
How to Get Press Step #6: How to send the pitch
There are a few different ways you can do this:
- You can reach out to reporters directly via email or social media.
- You can submit your story idea to an online publication.
- You can use a service like Help a Reporter Out (HARO), which connects businesses with reporters looking for sources.
How to Get Press Step #7: Be prepared to follow up
Publicist and PR Mentor Odette Barry posted this on her Linkedin:
“In business, there is no denying that opportunities come to those who hustle!
And the same goes for PR! I would suggest that anywhere between 50 and 80% of media stories come about because someone pitched their hiney off to make it happen.
Sure, some brands are ‘discovered’ by journalists. But that is the minority.
Most brands carefully research the outlets that make the most sense for them and then pitch and pitch and pitch (AND pitch again!) to score their time in the limelight.”– Odette Barry
Track your Email Pitches
Remember that the goal isn’t just to get media coverage – it’s to get media coverage that drives results.
So you need to track your media outreach efforts. Some of the things you can track could be:
name and contact of each journalist you pitched
date of the pitch
what each pitch was about
any follow-up required (and dates)
if/when the pitch was published
links to the published pieces in different publications
Once you’ve sent your pitch, it’s important to follow up with the journalist to ensure they received it and to answer any questions they might have. But don’t overdo it – once or twice should be sufficient.
How to Get Press Step #8: What to do after your pitch is accepted?
So the journalist likes your pitch – woohoo! But your job isn’t done yet. Now you need to be available to answer any questions, provide additional information or materials if required, and help them with anything else they might need from you.
Especially if they’re working on tight deadlines and need to turn around a story quickly.
Here’s one journalist sharing one of her biggest pet peeves on Twitter:
Perfect your Landing Page
Remember your original goal of generating leads from your media feature?
Well, one of the best ways to achieve those goals is to have a well-optimized landing page on your website. Then you can direct the journalist’s readers to that page, where they can learn more about your business and (hopefully) sign up for your newsletter or download a freebie.
Your landing page should:
- Be relevant to the story the journalist wrote about you
- Have a strong headline that grabs attention
- Have a clear call-to-action (CTA) telling visitors what you want them to do next
- Include additional images or videos, if available.
What if the journalist won’t allow any links?
If the journalist you’re working with doesn’t allow links in their article or mention your website URL, don’t despair! You can still generate leads from your media feature by directing readers to your landing page with a call-to-action (CTA) in your bio.
For example: “For more tips on how to start a business, grab my free business startup guide at [Your URL].“
Keep an eye out for coverage.
After your pitch has been accepted and the article is published, keep an eye out for it online. And when you see it, make sure to share it across all of your social media channels and with your email list! The more people who see it, the better.
You can also track how well your article is performing by setting up Google Alerts. Just enter the name of your business or website, and you’ll be notified whenever it’s mentioned online.
Bonus tip: if you want to keep an eye on your competitors’ media coverage, you can also set up Google Alerts for their business name!
Twelve PR tools for small businesses
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of getting press for your small business let’s look at some tools and resources to help you with your PR efforts.
- HARO (Help A Reporter Out) – This is a great resource for finding reporters who are looking for sources for their stories. You can sign up to receive daily or weekly emails with opportunities that you can apply to.
- Sourcebottle – Similar to HARO, Sourcebottle is a free service that connects journalists with sources. Specifically for media opportunities in Australia.
- Journolink – Get media opportunities to your inbox. For UK opportunities only.
- Matchmaker.fm – Get booked on podcast shows and expand your reach and audience. You can also discover industry experts and book guests for your own podcast.
- Muck Rack – This site is a directory of journalists from all over the world. You can search by location, beat, or publication to find the right reporter for your story.
- Pitchbox – This tool helps you track your pitches and follow-up with reporters. It also allows you to see what kind of pitch is working well so you can replicate your success.
- PR Newswire – This site allows you to distribute your press release to media outlets worldwide. They have different packages depending on how far-reaching you want your release to be.
- Hunter.io – This tool helps you find the email addresses of journalists so you can pitch your story directly.
- Salesflare – This CRM tool can help you track your media contacts and relationships. It also has a neat visual workflow, so you can see visually how each pitch is progressing. (Check out our interview with the Founder here)
- Submit.co – This site provides a list of media publications for startups to get press.
- Followerwonk – This Twitter tool helps you find, analyze, and optimize your Twitter followers. You can use it to find influencers in your industry or reporters who cover your topic.
- Sparktoro – This tool helps you quickly find out your audience’s sources of influence so you can reach out to them. Check out our interview with Sparktoro’s Marketing Architect Amanda here (she also gives us a tool demo).
There are a lot of great tools and resources out there to help you with your PR efforts. The key is finding the best work for you and your business.
Experiment with different tactics and see what gets you the best results. Don’t forget to measure your success so you can continue to improve your PR strategy over time.
Media Coverage Frequently Asked Questions
Should I focus on national coverage or local newspapers?
Media attention is excellent, no matter where it comes from. But if you’re a small business owner with a physical location, you might want to focus on getting coverage in your local newspaper or news station first. They’re more likely to be interested in stories about businesses in their community, and it can be easier to get their attention than going after more prominent national outlets.
Of course, if you have a story relevant to a national audience (like an innovative new product), don’t hesitate to pitch it to them!
How is digital PR different from traditional PR?
Digital PR is a relatively new field focusing on promoting your business online. This can include getting coverage on a popular blog or website, being featured in an online magazine, or even being interviewed on a podcast.
With traditional PR, on the other hand, you’re more likely to focus on offline media outlets like newspapers, magazines, and TV stations.
What’s the best way to pitch my story idea to a journalist?
The best way to pitch your story idea to a journalist is to keep it brief and to the point. Include essential information about your story in the first paragraph. Feel free to include links to additional resources (like your website or a press kit) if they might be interested.
And remember, always follow up after you send your pitch! Journalists are busy and might not have time to respond immediately. But if you don’t hear anything after a week, it’s okay to send a brief follow-up email to ensure they received your pitch and to see if they have any questions.
Do I need a press kit?
A press kit is a collection of materials journalists can use when writing about your business – things like your company history, recent newsworthy events, high-resolution images, etc.
You don’t necessarily need a press kit, but it can be helpful to have one on hand if a journalist requests more information about your business. You can create a digital press kit on your website or put together a physical packet of materials you can mail out.
If you decide to create a digital press kit, make sure it’s easy to find on your website and that it includes all the information a journalist might need, like:
– an overview of your business
– recent newsworthy events or announcements
– high-resolution images (with captions)
– videos or podcasts
– media coverage you’ve received in the past
– contact information for your PR team.
You can also set up a media page on your website and direct journalists to it. For example, here’s a media page that we set up for a client.
Where does paid media fit in?
Paid media and PR are two different things, but they can work together to promote your business. Paid media is essentially advertising – you’re paying to place your message in front of a specific audience. This can include buying ads on Google or Facebook, sponsoring a post on Instagram, or even taking out an ad in a newspaper or magazine.
On the other hand, PR is about getting media coverage for your business. This can be:
– a positive review or write-up in a popular magazine,
– being featured on a popular website or blog, or even
– getting mentioned in an article.
While you usually have to pay for advertising, PR is often free – you’re simply leveraging your relationships with journalists and influencers to get them to talk about your business. That being said, some paid PR services can help you get media coverage for your business (for a fee, of course).
So which one should you focus on? It really depends on your goals and budget. If you have the money to invest in paid advertising, it can be a great way to quickly get your message in front of a large audience. But if you’re on a tight budget, PR can be a more cost-effective way to get media coverage and build buzz around your business.
Do I need to hire a PR firm?
If you have the time and resources to do it yourself, there’s no need to hire a PR firm. However, if you’re short on time or don’t have much experience with media relations, it might be worth hiring someone to help you out.
A good PR firm can provide valuable guidance and support as you work to promote your business – plus, they usually have existing relationships with journalists that can make it easier to get media coverage.
The only caveat we’d put on working with a PR firm is that you should ensure you’re on the same page about your goals. PR firms typically work on a retainer basis, which means they charge a monthly fee, so if your goal is to generate leads and sales, be sure to confirm that’s what the PR firm will focus on before you sign any contracts.
How do I measure the success of my PR efforts?
There are a few key metrics you can use to measure the success of your PR efforts, including:
– media placements (i.e., how many times your business was featured in the press)
– reach (i.e., how many people saw or heard about your media placements)
– social media engagement (i.e., how many people liked, shared, or commented on your posts about your media placements)
– website traffic (i.e., how many people visited your website as a result of your media placements)
– sales (i.e., how many sales or leads you generated as a result of your media placements)
Keep in mind that PR is a long-term game – it can take months or even years to build up relationships with journalists and influencers, so don’t expect results overnight.
Now you know how to get press, it’s time to TAKE ACTION!
So now you know how to create a great story, reach journalists, and pitch it to the media. These are the basics of how to get press and media coverage for your small business – for free!
Remember that PR is a long-term strategy, so don’t give up if you don’t see results immediately.
Stay persistent and keep pitching; eventually, you’ll start seeing your name in the news.
Do you have other tips for getting press and media coverage? Let us know in the comments below!
And if you’re looking for more help with promoting your business, check out our guide.
(Featured image Photo by Madison Inouye)