HOW TO CONNECT WITH THE PRESS

Every business needs exposure, for potential customers to know of it, to trust it, to purchase from it and ideally to inform their friends of it. PR is ultimately about creating content and managing communications. To propel your business, you need to establish an engagement with your would-be customer. At Scarlett PR & Marketing, we help to generate a shift in passive recipients to active participants, those who go on to communicate, share content and ultimately purchase from our clients businesses.

1) Tell Your Story

When you use PR to build your business, in order to achieve some really impactful coverage, you’ll need to pitch story ideas. Whether you’re wanting to attract the attention of the local newspaper, a national paper or a monthly glossy magazine, you’ll need a ‘hook’. Ask yourself what makes your business different. Are you a start-up or do you work within a long established family business, perhaps you are part of an interesting partnership? Do you have a new service or product to launch? Journalists are inundated with information daily and they require interesting, relevant stories with an angle. Give them that ‘hook’ in a concise (no more than a two page press release with quotes, high quality images & samples where necessary) timely and courteous fashion, relevant to their readers and you’re more likely to be featured.

2) Know Your Customer and What they Read!

Now you have your news story, it’s time to select where you want your news to appear. However, before this can be done, it’s wise to define your target market. The target market is a group of customers that a business has decided to aim its PR & Marketing efforts at and ultimately products/services to. Ask yourself: Who is your ideal customer? Where do they live? What is their age? Are they male or female? Define them in as many relevant ways as possible. This will then lead you to think of the differing platforms of editorial – be it websites, blogs, newspapers and magazines that your typical consumer will read and engage with. For example: if you’re a cookery school, straight forward foodie titles will include: Delicious magazine, Food & Travel, BBC Good Food, Olive magazine but also your location will play a part for those wishing to partake within a demonstration. If you’re Surrey based as we are, contact the likes of: Surrey Life magazine, the Surrey Mirror, Go Surrey etc. Research each publication (often they produce well defined reader profiles) and gauge their editorial direction, topics and tone. Connect with them on social media and know their regular features and sections, you’d like to be highlighted within.

Lead times:

Magazines generally work between 3-6 months in advance / Newspapers & Radio between 1 day-2 weeks and Blogs & Podcasts between 1-4 weeks +

3) Be the Voice of the Expert

Other than a press release, perhaps pitch your own article. Seeing as journalists are time poor, make their life easier with an article on a subject your business specialises in and which you want to be known for. Offer a media pack or at least a biography of your past experience in industry. Trade titles are particularly welcoming of expert articles which offer a debate and /or top tips. (Should the topic be time sensitive, do remember magazines such as these, work a good 2-3 months in advance). People really enjoy reading personal stories and to ‘meet’ the person behind the brand, thus building the know, the like and the trust factor. The trick is to offer engaging thought provoking articles, which see journalists remembering you as an easy-to-work-with, expert in your field, contacting you as they require future additional comments.

Once a strong relationship has been established (very important and more of this later) why not expand the idea and request the opportunity to speak on a panel of experts within any trade shows, the magazines are involved in organising. Professional Beauty magazine and its show for example, Confex with sponsors such as: Executive PA magazine, Conference News, PA Life and Square Meal & Events magazine as well as The National Wedding Show in association with media partners such as: Absolutely Weddings magazine, County Wedding titles and Ultimate Wedding magazine online.

4) Provide Valuable Content

Nowadays in this digital age there is no excuse not be creating content around your brand. What with the power and ease of social media, you simply can’t afford not to! Simply create a podcast, write a blog or showcase your business, product or service on video and share! All you have to do is start, it’s all about participation. Instead of trying to sell to your customers, businesses now have the luxury of creating entertaining and engaging content which brings value to the user, which in turn delivers reputation and relationship. Showcase your venue, profile your staff, share images of the food your restaurant serves etc. Be authentic and define your identity online.

5) Build & Maintain Media Relationships

The best way to reach out to your identified journalist (having checked the relevancy of the publication and of the individual journalist) is by sending personalised emails to a select number of titles. Address each individual by name, comment on their latest article and what you took from it and then highlight to them why you feel your business is worth writing a story about.

If they don’t get back to you immediately, don’t worry. Journalists can receive hundreds of emails daily, so give them some time to reply. After a week or so, send a further short ‘follow up’ email, just in case it has been genuinely missed in their inbox. If there is still no reply, assume they do not want to cover your business and move onto a different journalist who will be more receptive.

We wouldn’t advise phoning to speak with them as you won’t be privy to their deadline timescales and this more intimate relationship is usually reserved for the PR’s that they have regularly conversed and worked with over a substantial period of time.

Lastly, be a friend to journalists and influencers. Follow them on social media and share any articles that they write for you, on your own social channels. Send an email thanking them for the coverage that they give you. Over the years, Scarlett PR has cultivated many fond and mutually beneficial relationships and in many cases, we’ve never met! You may find our regular new blog section, ‘Meet the Press’ interesting!

If you are considering a PR & Marketing campaign and would like some advice, talk to Scarlett PR:

Tel: 01372 200 111

hello@scarlettpr.co.uk

@ScarlettPRLoves