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Monday, January 24, 2011

Entrepreneur Tips: Getting Press

With the prevalence of online media, the opportunities for getting published information about your product or service out to the masses has grown by leaps and bounds.

Some tried and true methods still apply whether you’re pitching a product review to a blogger or pitching feature ideas about a great new business to a print publication. Here are a few rules to follow:

  1. Know your audience. Become familiar with the types of people who would not only seek out your product or service, they’ll love it. Do all your research before you approach the media. Make your self into an expert, both on your product and your audience.
  2. Match your audience to that of the media outlet you’re pitching. There’s nothing worse than assuming you know. Request a media kit from any media outlets that have them to familiarize your self with their demographics. Ask questions and make sure you’re audience coincides with that of the media outlet.
  3. Get to know the format. Knowing what types of products or services the media outlet usually features, what kinds of stories they typically do and what tone they use will help you reach them. Read the blogs where you want to be mentioned. Watch the TV shows where you want to be a guest.  Subscribe to the magazines where you want to get published.
  4. Be personal. Don’t mass email the media. They know when you’re sending a mass email by looking in the “to” field. They’ll be more likely to read your email if you address it to them specifically and mention something that applies to them directly. For example, say something like “in your January/February issue, you featured…” You’ll show them that you’re not only a reader, you’re are a real person and not another publicity hound.
  5. Be authentic and unique. You’ve got to grab their attention, much like an ad has to grab the consumer’s attention. These people are busy and they get pitched to all the time. Come up with an angle that no one else has come up with before. Use your imagination and your personality.
  6. Give them what they want. When you finally get through to a decision maker, you’ll want to show them that you know how to do this – even if you’ve never done “this” before. Give them succinct descriptions of why your product or service will interest their audience. Give them high-resolution photos, clickable links, snappy descriptions and all other information you feel necessary to bring traffic back to you. Make sure you answer their calls and emails promptly. This step is crucial and could be the key to a long relationship with the media, if you do it right.

Don’t give up if you don’t hear back from the media you’re pitching. Persistence really does pay off. Media decision makers are very busy, so give them time to respond to you. Use your discretion when emailing or calling – you don’t want to be a pest. If they email you that they aren’t interested, ask them if they have any suggestions, or if they can tell you what kind of content they need most. Offering to help them with their content could open another door for you. Always, always, always follow up. You’ll be surprised what a little consistency and timing can do to get you heard and seen.

5 comments:

  1. Great tips! (Persistence does pay off but it's such a painstaking task sometimes, dang it all!)

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  2. You know how to do it with finesse, Emily.

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  3. This is very helpful! I'm an inexperienced entrepreneur in the baking industry and I'm in the middle of starting up my own cupcake business. I'm not so sure where to go with the marketing part though. What are your thoughts on PPC marketing? Good idea? Do you happen to know about any reputable PPC Agencies that can help me with online marketing campaigns? Thank you!

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  4. Hey Vicky, I'm a bit slow at responding to your comment. If you're a brick and mortar store with very little online presence, PPC isn't the way to go. Do you sell your cupcakes online? I would work on building your following of true customers and let them talk you up online before I started buying an audience.

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  5. These are definitely some great tips! And I agree with you Pam about Vicky's cupcake business. Marketing through seo firms can be great for many businesses, but for a cupcake store, local old-school marketing and word-of-mouth is probably the best way to do it. Good luck!

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