When you’re running a small business getting press coverage can be a challenge. If you’ve got a good story then you might get some footage in the local newspaper, but it’s unusual for a business to be able to generate really newsworthy stories on a regular basis.
So, if you’re not signing contracts with the great and the good every week or winning gongs left, right and centre, how do you get your name in print?
Research pays off
It’s no good getting your business featured in Cow Herders Monthly if you’re selling widgets for sheep farmers, unless a few cow herders are also sheep farmers. So do some research and these are the key activities for your research campaign:
What do your ideal clients read regularly? You might have to ask a few of them to find out if they read industry journals, local press, national newspapers, business magazines or something else. Find out if they are online or hard copy publications.
What kind of information are they looking for? What articles appeal to them? What do they want to know more about? What do they enjoy reading about?
Do the editors accept unsolicited articles? When you’ve built your list of publications – usually between 7-12 publications – you need to get in touch with the editor, or for bigger publications with the section editor. A phone call will work better than an email.
Don’t waste time, but be friendly and helpful. Ask them first if they accept unsolicited material – if the answer is ‘no’ thank them and cross them off your list. If they say ‘yes’ share your research about what your target audience have said they want to read and ask if they would be interested in an article around this subject.
If they say ‘yes’ ask how many words, what they are happy to put in the author bio at the end, when their deadline is and how they want to receive it (get the right email address).
Read the publication before you write. Just writing an article without understanding the publication is the quickest route to NOT getting published. You’ll need to look at the style of articles in the magazine and ensure you match it. If you write a chatty, informative piece and their style is formal and statistic-focused, you won’t get into print.
Supply appropriate images. If you have relevant images – that are NOT stock photos (even copyright free stock photos) – include these as attachments and list at the foot of the article any images by file title and, if relevant, a descriptive caption. If you don’t have images, don’t worry, the publication will get their design department to ensure your article looks good.
If you do a good job you’ve opened the door for future articles, most editors like writers that they can rely on for delivering good articles, on time, in the right format and that their readers will like.