How to Connect with Media?
Landing media opportunities for your small business can grow your visibility in a very targeted way and introduce you to vast new audiences of people that you never knew existed. Think about what might occur if you garner a mention in the NY Times or Costco Connections, the monthly print magazine that is sent to EVERY one of the 8.2 million U.S. Costco members.
When a trusted journalist reports on you and your business, they are actually introducing you to their audience. This is no different than any other introduction, the road to trust has already begun as you are being introduced by someone they already trust. This is an incredible way to begin a new relationship and it’s highly likely that your new audience will want to learn more.
The result is traffic to your website and connections on social media that turn into relationships. Best part is they already know and trust you so getting to the sales process is shorter. Word of mouth marketing happens, and your audience continues to grow in a very targeted way. Perhaps you will even land more media opportunities.
Sounds complex, but it is not. I am going to share a few free resources to help you get started. You do not need to be a seasoned PR pro to do this, the journalists are actually looking for experts and resources just like YOU.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Connecting with Media
Now I do not consider PR to be FREE advertising, in fact, it is quite different. You can read more about that in another article on my blog about the differences between PR and Advertising. That said there are free and low-cost resources that will help to connect you with the journalists that are actively looking for you. Simply sign-up to receive their emails which include actual requests for stories or articles they are working on NOW and need experts to interview. It is easy to create a process around this and delegate to team members once you have the assets that you need in place to connect with the media.
Before sharing the list, I want to share a few do’s and don’ts for connecting with the media through these resources so you have great success.
DO – Read the request, then read it again and again – you want to give them exactly what they need. If you are not the expert they are looking for let it go – or pay it forward and pass the opportunity on to someone who is a great fit (you will want to share this blog post too so they know what to do).
DO – Honor the deadlines, they are real, if you missed it let it go, there will be more.
DO – Keep your response short and sweet – media professionals are busy and get tons of emails daily. Keep your pitch short and to the point, no more than 2 paragraphs and add in a tip or two. They want to know how you can help their story not what you have done for the past 10 years.
DO – Check them out on social media… start to follow them, see what they are talking about, if appropriate incorporate what you learn into the response. Remember IT’S ABOUT THEM and how you can benefit their audience, not how you can benefit yourself.
DON’T – Add an attachment to your email, unless specifically requested. They will not open emails with attachments for several reasons, it takes time, fear of viruses, they are often working off a phone or mobile device and want to see everything in one view.
DO – Compile all of the important information you want them to know about you. Gather it in an easy to read format and create an online media kit that is uploaded to your website and they can just click a link – or – create a separate “media” webpage with all of the information and include the link in your email. Include past media, headshots they can download, awards, certifications, testimonials, links to everyplace they can find you and anything else that makes you unique.
DON’T – Follow-up on your media request email. When responding to a media request via HARO or another They will get 100s or even 1000s of responses, remember there will always be another opportunity. It is a long road back from the media “black-list.”
DO – Follow up all interviews with a thank you email and if you can an @mention on Twitter or another social platform they are active on. Stay in touch in an unobtrusive way, be helpful, you now have a media contact!
Free Resources for Landing Media Opportunities
Simply click on the links below and sign-up for these FREE resources via email.
- HARO: http://www.helpareporter.com/
- PITCHRATE: http://pitchrate.com
- SOURCEBOTTLE: http://www.sourcebottle.com/
- MUCKRACK: http://muckrack.com/
Track these hashtags and social profiles on Twitter and other social media platforms – journalists will often share opportunities on Twitter when they miss a deadline to be added to the email list – these are typically leads that are on a tight deadline so respond quickly, you may have the opportunity to get the attention of someone that is hard to reach at the exact time they need your help.
Remember to apply the strategies above and be sure to share your media wins with me on social media!