If you run your own business or work for a client that does, you’ll be aware of how difficult it can sometimes be to get quality press coverage. However, the benefits of regular exposure online and offline should be all the motivation you need....
With so many businesses competing for space online and offline, getting the media as excited about your business as you are can be a real challenge. Don’t underestimate PR though, as when done properly, it can help your business fly out the traps, gain more customers and dramatically increase your profits.
So, we’ll cut to the chase! This blog will give you the inside scoop on what journalists want to see, how and when they want to see it, and crucially, what they don’t care about too…
You have different interests!
Whilst it may be a difficult pill to swallow, journalists probably don’t care about the sort of things you think they should care about. It’s great that something significant is happening to your business, but the media will only be interested in certain stories and angles. Once you accept that, you can start pitching news that will have a better chance of getting coverage, and you’ll save yourself a lot of heartaches too.
What makes a good business story?
The good news is journalists and editors will love a business story that is centred around start-ups and/or entrepreneurs – perfect for your small or medium sized business. The regional and national press will also look favourably on a business story with a face. Profile pieces and “a day in the life of” offer a more human and individual side, and are more appealing to the media.
Other top tips for business stories:
News is change
Just telling a journalist that you have recently appointed a new member of staff or moved offices isn’t enough – they want to know what this means. Always be obvious with what has changed and why straight away.
The community effect
Again, just shouting about your business isn’t newsworthy. What positive effect is your news and business having on the community? This is especially important for the local media, where the effects of your news will be felt more directly.
Shout About Individual Success
Yes, it’s great to shout about the success of your business, but focus on the individual who created that success. A member of staff winning an award is far more appealing than announcing further growth or increasing profits.
So, what makes a bad business story?
Bad business stories aren’t bad news about your business (if you’re lucky). They are stories that journalists just won’t care about, unfortunately. Save yourself time and avoid sending journalists any of the following:
Open day and trade show news
Businesses attend thousands of trade shows every day across the country. Unfortunately, this isn’t unique news, unless something extraordinary happened.
New business and growth
It’s great that your business is growing and winning new contracts, but keep these sorts of announcements on your website or in your newsletter.
Journalists – and more importantly, the public – will expect you to regularly be launching new products and services. So, unless you’re launching something truly groundbreaking, or your new product is up for an international award, save yourself time and keep this news on your website only.
Got your story? Time to pitch
So, you’ve got a great story that you know journalists will be interested in? It’s time to pitch! However, don’t waste all your hard work at this point, because how you pitch to local and regional press is vital.
What to include:
The best email pitches will include the who, what, why, when and how in the first few lines, so make sure yours does too. Give background early on, with a clear view of your story and include any financials.
Keep it relevant
Make sure your story is relevant to the publication’s audience. Nothing infuriates a journalist more than just random “hopeful” emails, so do your research! Look at their past articles and readership: will they be interested in what you’ve got to say?
Timing is everything
If you want your pitch to be looked at, the timing is important too. Avoid pitching on Mondays, when journalists will be inundated with requests, and Thursdays and Fridays – unless you’re looking for coverage over the weekend.
Journalists love photos and image-heavy stories, so include or offer as many images as possible in your pitch.
Again, always remember to answer the question: WHAT HAS CHANGED?
If you’re due to launch your new business or are just looking for a push, using local, regional and national media can be a powerful tool. It’s important to develop and nurture relationships with key media contacts. Send quality news that journalists will care about in the right way, and you will soon find your email or request goes to the top of the pile.