Lightbulb moments: 5 reasons why you’re not achieving PR coverage!
Ever feel completely stumped as to why you’re not being successful in achieving PR coverage for your small business? Your carefully crafted email pitches seem to float off into cyber space and don’t even elicit a response?
Then let me share five ‘lightbulb moments’ I gleaned from Janet Murray’s fabulous Soulful PR Live event last week in London. An amazing event that brought together 80 businesses and eight members of the national press to help us better understand how to work with the media.
Advice from the experts
At the event, we heard from a wealth of experts – Features Editor of Marie Claire, News and Content Editor of The Pool, Producer of Good Morning Britain, Producer of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and more. Each generously shared invaluable insights into the type of content they’re looking for, just how important their audiences are to them, and how we as business owners can improve our chances of achieving PR coverage.
I jotted down reams of notes on the day, but here are my 5 lightbulb moments that I felt would be helpful to share with you:
It’s not about you
Whilst it can be hugely tempting to think that everyone else is as excited about your products/services/personal story as you are – they’re not! Journalists are looking for standout content that offers something different. Something fresh, exciting and that will be helpful or of interest to their audience. Think about how you can help journalists/make their life easier (rather than focusing on your own business) – perhaps you have helpful tips to share or a valuable life experience that might inspire their readers/viewers/listeners – and you could be in with a much better chance.
Pitch the right story
Spend some time getting to know the publication(s) that you are looking to pitch to. Janet Murray says this time over in her amazing PR resources (blogs, podcasts etc) but it was helpful to hear it direct from the media themselves. Making the effort to really understand the type of content that journalists are looking for, the type of stories they feature and where you think your idea might fit, is a crucial step in the pitching process.
Timing is everything
Journalists are busy people – they receive hundreds of email pitches daily whilst managing other facets of their job, attending meetings etc. Aside from getting to understand when to pitch in terms of meeting publication lead times (note: these will differ from publication to publication) – the consensus was that afternoons (and particularly Friday afternoons) are generally not a good time to pitch! Nor is the weekend. And that Monday mornings before 8.30am (prior to team meetings) are on the whole, preferable.
Talk to the right person
Take care to pitch your idea to the relevant editor/producer of your chosen publication. Each publication will have a team of editors working on its content – whether that be a print or digital team – so take the time to find the contact details for the right person for your specific area. For example, a Fashion and Beauty Editor will not be interested in your ‘Social media tips’ pitch – they may forward it to the right person (but they are busy people and likely to forget). It is far better that you send your email to the right person in the first place. If in doubt about the best person to contact, check with the Editorial Assistant/Production Assistant for that given publication/show.
Build relationships with journalists
Like with so many areas of business, building up relationships with journalists is really important. You’re unlikely to get a response to a cold pitch if they have never heard of you or your business before. Far better to build a relationship first. It is easy to connect with journalists and editors on social media (Twitter is a must!) and you can be helpful by sharing their requests for content, even if you personally are not able to contribute on this occasion. Building the foundations of a relationship will mean that your name/business hasn’t just popped up out of the blue when you send through your pitch. But do be careful not to become a stalker!
A final thought
What a fantastic event Soulful PR Live was! Great content, inspirational speakers, and a fabulous mix of delegates. I have taken away a wealth of information and have already started putting it into practice. My first pitch to local media on the following day received an immediate ‘yes’ and I have a few other pitches in progress!
I am also now so much more grateful for the PR coverage that I have achieved to-date!
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