Press releases are so ‘yesterday’! And not very productive either.
Whatever you think your story is, it’s often difficult to convince an editor that it has ‘legs’. However, there are better opportunities to get PR coverage in the print (and digital print) media.
Step 1 – draw up your hit list
Identify a list of a dozen or so publications that your target audience reads when they’re looking for information around your area of expertise or for general business know-how. This might include their own industry press if you service a particular industry or publications dedicated to a particular type of manager – e.g. HR, Facilities, Marketing, Finance, etc. Or it might include more general publications for small businesses, management, etc.
Step 2 – know what the editor wants
Read a few issues of the publications you’ve identified. Get an idea of the kind of articles they publish and get familiar with the tone and style of writing.
If your target publication is mainstream, conservative, fact-based and formal, a chatty, conversational style piece won’t have any chance of getting published.
Although the editor will probably give you a maximum word count, it’s good to have an idea of how long their articles run to. Submitting 1200 words, when articles are typically half that won’t win you any prizes.
Step 3 – prepare your pitch
As an expert you can pitch your take on something related to your business expertise. This is known as a thought-leader article. The pitch will require 2-4 headlines with a short summary of what the article content will cover.
Spend time on developing attention grabbing headlines – as you not only need to get your audience’s attention, but also the editor’s.
Step 4 – make it personal
The best way to get published is to develop relationships with the editors of your chosen publications. That doesn’t mean you ring them up and pester them, but talking to them about what they want and the best way to communicate with them is a great start,
You won’t always need to speak to the Managing Editor – some publications have other editors for specific subject areas. Make sure you’re talking to the right one.
Step 5 – stick to the brief
When you write a thought-leader piece under a headline the editor has agreed to, make sure your article is focused on the title you’ve provided and fulfils the promise of the summary.
Aim to put over some original ideas, don’t just regurgitate what other people have said. What’s your take on the subject and why?
Don’t try and sneak any sales pitches into your copy – that’s the fastest way to ruin your relationship with the editor.
When you’ve finished your article check you’re within the correct word count and proof read (or get someone else to) for typos, punctuation, spelling, grammar, etc.
Step 6 – Deliver on time
If the deadline is 6th of the month, deliver on 5th. If you’re asked for a 50 word biography, a photo or anything else, ensure they all go along with your submission. If you’ve submitted before, don’t expect them to dig out previous versions – just deliver what’s required, when it’s required.
Step 7 – Promote
When the article is published share the link on your social media and tag the publication. It shows you’re a thought-leader and gets brownie points with the publisher.