Getting publicity is one of the easiest ways to position your brand in front of millions of people.
As a personal PR consultant with over 16 years’ experience, I’ve had the absolute honour of working with an eclectic mix of clients; from big named brands in Fitness, Hospitality and FMCG, through to authors, coaches and service-based businesses.
The great thing about PR?
Once you’ve mastered the process it’s simply a case of RINSE & REPEAT, RINSE & REPEAT, RINSE & REPEAT.
The process rarely changes.
In fact, I pitch to the press in the exact same way that I did when I first graduated from university in 2004 and worked as a junior in an established PR agency.
There’s no secret to getting publicity, but there are some skills and traits that you need that will help you go further:
- Relationship building
Once you’ve mastered these skills, the rest is easy.
So, the following eight steps are going to help you to understand the PR process, so that you know exactly what to do and what to expect.
BE PREPARED TO ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES & GET STUCK IN
We all want an easy life, right? We all want the answers to magically appear so that we can continue to be awesome without breaking a sweat.
The reality is, there are no shortcuts, or a magic wand that can get you what you want without working for it.
If you really want to be featured in the media, you need to know which media outlets to send a pitch to.
Then you need to research the content they’re already featuring, to see where you fit in. Buy a few copies of the magazines you want to be in, listen to the podcasts you want to be a guest on, watch the TV shows you’d love to be on.
Observe what they’re covering and who’s writing about it, as this will help you to know what to pitch and who to pitch to.
#prhack social media can be used as a search engine too. Yep, that’s right, social media gives you the opportunity to follow the publications that are read by your ideal customer. You can follow the journalists that write for those publications, or purely have an interest in what you’re offering.
All of a sudden these hugely influential people are easy to binge watch and you get a glimpse into their lives, their loves and what gets them going in the morning.
That my friend, is PR gold!
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE READER?
Journalists act purely as the gatekeeper between you and your ideal client. The only thing getting in the way of you making a sale, is them.
One of the biggest mistakes I see when people pitch themselves to the press, is not spending enough time on the angle that they want to pitch, so they end up throwing the kitchen sink at the journalist/editor they’re pitching to.
Before you pitch you need to ask yourself ‘what’s in it for the reader?’ What are you helping them to learn or overcome? What are you teaching them?
Media outlets exist to serve their community, their loyal following, so everything they produce has to be relevant to this audience. This is why research is so important.
When you pitch to an editor or a journalist you only get one shot, so you’ve got to get it right.
Be brutal. Ask yourself the following question ‘is this actually newsworthy? Would I want to read about this in a magazine?’ Whether it’s a yes or a no, there’s your answer.
Pitching yourself to the press takes next level self-awareness.
You need to know exactly who you serve, how you serve them and how you speak directly to them.
You need to know exactly what you want from being featured in the press, and you need to know exactly what you want to be known for.
This is the time for you to own your superpowers and shine a light for others.
Know yourself and the message that you’re sharing and you’ll have editors eating out of the palm of their hands as they’ll know that they can always rely on you to deliver.
ARE YOU REALLY CONNECTING TO YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?
If there’s ONE thing I’ve learned since running my own business, it’s that you really need to connect to your ideal client on a deeper level.
Like, really connect to them. Really, really connect to them.
It’s no longer enough to give your ideal client avatar a name and know where they live and what they do for work.
We need to know what keeps them up at night. What are they going through right now, where they’re looking for help and what kind of help they need.
Not only will this help you to know what information to share with them, and how to communicate with them, but you’ll also know how to get in front of them.
If you know that they’re hanging out in Facebook groups, hang out in those Facebook groups.
If you know that they’re reading The Daily Mail, Oprah or Psychologies, you need to be featured in The Daily Mail., Oprah and Psychologies.
If they’re watching This Morning, CNBC or Fox News, you need to be a guest on This Morning, CNBC or Fox News.
People look for solutions, so you need to be seen to be offering the solutions that they’re looking for, in the places that they’re hanging out.
SPEAK THE TRUTH: DO YOU HAVE THE PROOF?
You've spent years building your business to where it is today. Can you afford to risk it all for the sake of a few column inches?
Crisis communications is part of managing your reputation, but quite frankly you don’t want to be known for the wrong reasons, I want you to spend your time writing the news agenda, not becoming part of it!
The whole point of publicity is to shine a light on your incredible talent, sharing your expertise and connecting to your perfect-fit clients.
However, be aware that you'll need to validate what you're saying with facts and figures. You cannot pay lip service and not have receipts.
Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one!
Don’t build a reputation based on your opinions alone, it’s very rarely attractive. Build your credibility based on talent and results.
AVOID THE SPRAY AND PRAY APPROACH: CREATE A STRATEGY INSTEAD
As an author, coach or consultant, I have no doubt that you’re constantly creating ideas that you’re just itching to get out there.
When it comes to getting publicity, less is definitely more.
The worst thing you can do is send random pitches to editors and journalists in the hope that something will get picked up. And second to that, is constantly badgering them to feature you.
Journalists are busy.
They receive a thousand email pitches a day and if what you’re pitching doesn’t grab them in the headline, chances are they’ll delete your email without even opening it, let alone reading it.
It’s harsh, but it’s true and it’s important for you to understand that.
Being featured is all about positioning. It’s all about messaging and it’s all about the need of the readers. If you’re not relevant to the readers then don’t waste time or energy trying to get featured.
When you start to use a PR strategy in your business, it needs to tie in to the overall strategy of the business, to support absolutely everything you’re putting out there.
It’s imperative to work on a strategy so that you’re maximising all opportunities. To ensure that your message runs consistently through everything that you do, from your website through to your blog or newsletter, right the way down to Facebook and Twitter.
Remember, if we fail to prepare then we’re preparing to fail.
YOUR PITCH DOESN’T PACK A PUNCH
Journalists are really busy people. They’re not sitting around filing their nails waiting for your latest PR scoop to land in their inbox.
They don’t even have time to read through paragraph after paragraph of technical information, industry jargon, or text that’s taking ages to get to the point.
When sending content to a journalist keep it very top line to pique their interest.
Get to the point within the first paragraph, lure them in, then if they want to find out more and delve deeper, they’ll reply to your email or pick up the phone and ask for more information.
An email that’s longer than two paragraphs will be deleted automatically, even if you’ve given them the winning lottery numbers for next week’s lottery draw.
Facts tell, stories sell.
BE PREPARED FOR KNOCK BACKS
The world of PR is fast-paced and ever-changing, and even if a journalist has confirmed that you've got a double page spread going into a publication it can easily be pushed back if a breaking news story occurs, if a Royal has a baby or announces they're engaged.
The rules in this game are constantly changing.
A huge trend one day can be old news the next. It can feel like a daily battle that you're constantly having to navigate to get the results you desire.
If only we were back in the 90s when journalists could be kept sweet with lavish lunches and champagne brunches!
But perseverance is key, I promise.
Fortune is most definitely in the follow-up. And don't be alarmed if it takes 3-4 attempts before you get a response. For every no you're one step closer to a yes!
When you do finally see your coverage in print, see your web traffic spike and see how you can use this to your advantage to increase sales, it's very much a sweet taste of victory that you'll want to repeat time and time again.
Want to know how to dominate the media in your country? Then you'll want to download my free guide 'How to Dominate the Media in your Country'.
Need more inspo on how to get in the press? Then why not join my Facebook group, The PR Accelerator, for daily tips, opportunities and how-to's.