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When it comes to selling your product or service, you need to find a way to reach your audience. You can do this by spending loads of money on adverts or you can pitch your business to the press and get them to publish an article about what you’re doing.
If you do your own PR, it’s free. In fact, you can be paid to promote your business if you pitch an article idea and have it published by a publication or website that pays for content. But there’s a fine art to pitching.
So many freelancers and business owners could be getting amazing press coverage and reaching their target market but they haven’t worked out how to craft their PR story and pitch it to the right people.
As an editor and journalist, who receives countless emails from PRs, I see the same mistakes repeated time and time again. So to save you some time and rejections – let me share five PR tricks that most freelancers and small business owners don’t know about…
1. Press releases
Controversial, perhaps, but in my opinion the press release is completely defunct. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of hundreds of press releases a day, you’ll agree with me. If you haven’t, take my word for it: editors simple aren’t interested.
The idea makes sense: put together a compelling story about your work and send it out en masse. Someone will want to write up your story. Except if you can’t be bothered to target that specific editor and publication – why should they respond to your blanket mail-out?
2. Opinion pieces
There’s a news story about something in your industry – for instance, your business focuses on mothers’ mental health and the Government release a new report on maternal health. This is your opportunity to get an opinion piece in one of the nationals.
If you google it, you’ll come across generic opinion@[publication].com email addresses to send your comment pitches to. But editors aren’t sitting at a computer waiting for emails to flood into this account. If you’re lucky, an intern might give it a glance.
Instead, contact the opinion editor directly or make yourself an expert in your field; the person that editors come to directly when they want a comment piece on an issue within your sphere of work.
3. Blogs, podcasts, smaller websites
There’s a temptation to only strive for the best with PR; to pitch relentlessly to the national news, magazines and websites with millions of readers. It’s worth a shot, and it’s great if you do get featured – for your profile, and potentially for sales.
But it’s also important to get yourself on blogs, podcasts and smaller websites whose audience is the same as yours.
If you’re interviewed for a podcast with just 5000 subscribers but they’re all mothers of young children and this is your target market – you may well get more sales than if you get a news piece in a national. The latter has a much bigger reach but it’s not targeted.
4. WRITING SUBJECT LINES IN CAPITALS
You want a journalist or editor to open your email and read your pitch, so it makes sense to write your subject line in capitals and grab their attention, doesn’t it? Absolutely not. It’s a cheap attempt to draw them in and they’ll more likely delete it without reading. Same goes for emojis and exclamation marks.
5. Announcing your greatness
Perhaps you’ve won awards for your business or freelance work. Maybe you’ve been featured in some well-respected publications. And this is impressive. But it’s not your PR story, because a list of accolades does not constitute a story.
Instead, you need to craft a really compelling email about you and your business. Structure it with a beginning middle and an end. Sure, mention those accolades within it – but don’t make them the whole story.
June 7, 2019 at 07:49AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs