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How to Get your Press Release Noticed | A Strategic Approach

Getting your small business noticed can feel like an uphill battle. With limited resources and marketing budgets, how can you capture the media’s attention and stand out from larger competitors? The truth is, that securing valuable press coverage is well within reach for entrepreneurs – it just takes a strategic approach and compelling storytelling. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the steps business owners and PR agencies use to generate buzz, earn credibility, and reach new audiences through media relations.

As a business owner, getting your company featured in media outlets can seem like an impossible task. With limited resources and connections, how can you compete with massive corporations that have entire PR teams dedicated to scoring press? The truth is, with the right strategy and preparation, even the smallest startups can land impactful media coverage and get their brand in front of a wider audience.

Whether you’re looking to secure a feature in your local paper or get your product reviewed in a top industry publication, these tips will help you craft the perfect pitch, identify the right journalists, and build lasting media relationships. With a strategic approach and compelling storytelling, your small business can garner the press needed to accelerate growth and stand out from competitors.

Do Your Homework: Research Publications and Journalists

The first step is researching which media outlets you want to target. Focus on publications that your ideal customers read rather than chasing national prestige. A story in a small, niche magazine can sometimes generate better results than a big general interest publication. Spend time reading potential media targets to analyze their coverage. Bookmark writer’s names who cover topics relevant to your business.

This research will allow you to tailor your pitch and frame your story in a way that fits the publication’s voice and audience. It also shows journalists you’ve done your homework when you reference past articles they’ve written.

Find Your Hook: Uncover the Newsworthy Angle

With so many stories competing for journalists’ attention, you need a compelling angle to cut through the noise. Avoid generic pitches that simply announce a new product or service. Instead, look for ways your business intersects with emerging trends, current events, or topics of human interest.

For example, if you launched an app that delivers groceries, you could pitch it alongside data about how the pandemic has accelerated adoption of online grocery shopping. This contextualizes your announcement within a broader shift in consumer behavior.

Some newsworthy hooks include:

  • Release of groundbreaking research or data
  • An innovative product that solves a common problem
  • Partnerships with recognizable brands
  • Customer success stories that highlight your social impact
  • Awards, accolades, or major company milestones

The key is framing your pitch around what makes your story timely, original, and meaningful to readers. That’s what will make a journalist take notice.

Perfect Your Press Release To Get Noticed

While the pitch email is crucial for capturing a journalist’s attention, a well-crafted press release is what provides all the details needed to cover your announcement.

Your release should follow standard PR protocol with clear sections including:

  • Attention-grabbing headline
  • Short synopsis detailing the key facts
  • Dateline indicating when the release was issued
  • Body copy expanding on the news with quotes and data
  • Boilerplate with background on your company
  • Contact information

Write crisply and concisely to keep the release to 1-2 pages max. Avoid overused jargon and instead use narrative techniques that bring your story to life. The press release acts as your journalist’s roadmap, so make sure it’s compelling yet comprehensive to get your press release noticed.

Identify the Right Reporter

With your hook established and press release prepared, it’s time to identify the correct journalist to pitch. PR databases like Muckrack or Cision can help you find reporters who cover your industry. Take it a step further by cross-referencing the publications you want to target.

Search for the writer who recently covered topics aligned with your announcement. If pitching a tech story, find the reporter dedicated to covering innovation. If announcing a new food product, seek out the food editor. Pitches directed to the appropriate beat have a higher chance of catching a journalist’s eye.

When possible, pitch a specific reporter rather than a general editorial email address. Mention recent articles they wrote that you enjoyed. This personal touch and recognition goes a long way.

Craft the Perfect Pitch

Your introductory email is often the first impression a journalist will have of your brand, so make it count. Follow these tips for maximizing open and response rates:

  • Keep it short and scannable. You only have a few sentences to capture attention before they move on.
  • Put your central news hook or announcement in the subject line and first sentence. Don’t bury the lede.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of their work and why the story is a fit.
  • Include a call-to-action such as requesting a meeting or interview.
  • Briefly explain why your product or company is worth covering.

Attach the press release as a PDF so all information is easily accessible. Be responsive to any follow-up questions or requests. With a compelling pitch, you’ll be on your way to securing coverage.

Look for Exclusive Press Release Angles

One technique for generating interest is offering a reporter an exclusive angle tied to your announcement. This could be:

  • An embargoed press release to allow for research before publication
  • Early access to products before competitors
  • A first look at new data or research
  • Interview opportunities with company leadership

The promise of exclusive content shows you respect the journalist’s time and gives them an advantage over the competition. Offer exclusives judiciously to media who will make the most of the opportunity.

Time Your News Announcement Strategically

Press coverage is largely about timing. Study the news cycle and current events to identify opportunities when media are likely to be receptive. Announcing a new electric vehicle? Pitch on Earth Day when sustainability is top of mind.

Holidays are another smart time to pitch seasonal stories. The back-to-school period is perfect for education companies. End-of-year holidays allow for reflective stories and predictions for the coming year.

Look for moments when your story complements what’s happening in the zeitgeist. This increases the odds of breaking through.

Don’t Forget to Follow-Up your Press Release

Journalists receive hundreds of emails daily, so don’t take it personally if your first pitch goes unanswered. Follow up within a week with a polite reminder about your press release. Offer to provide more details or answer any questions they may have.

If you still don’t receive a response, look for other opportunities to engage like sharing their content or responding thoughtfully to a tweet. This keeps you on their radar. Maintain persistence without being overbearing.

Build Relationships With Media

Securing press coverage is rarely a one-and-done scenario. Developing strong, long-term media relationships is crucial. Take time to nurture connections by:

  • Acting as a reliable resource for insights about your industry
  • Providing helpful data or suggestions for future articles
  • Sharing or commenting on a journalist’s content
  • Meeting informally over coffee or a virtual chat

When media contacts see you as a trusted partner invested in their success, they’ll be more likely to cover your announcements and business milestones.

Convert Press Mentions into Customers

The payoff for all your media relations efforts is converting press into measurable business impact. When you do get covered, amplify the article across your website and social channels. Repurpose quotes into blog posts. Share the story with your email subscriber list.

Consider promoting the coverage through paid ads on social media or Google. This expands your reach and positions your brand as an authority.

Ensure your website and contact info are up to date so interested new customers can easily find you after reading a story. Add calls to action to drive traffic from press mentions to your site.

With the right strategy, even solopreneurs and small business owners can secure media coverage that bolsters credibility and drives growth. Do your prep work, find newsworthy angles in your business journey, and don’t be afraid to reach out to reporters. Building genuine connections and delivering value for journalists leads to impactful press. Stay persistent and success will soon follow.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of publications should a small business target for press coverage?

Focus on local newspapers, niche industry publications, blogs, and magazines your target customers read rather than big national outlets.

How can a small business make their story newsworthy to reporters?

Highlight unique data, tie your news to current events, or offer exclusives like first access to a product.

What is the best way to identify the right journalists to pitch?

Research reporters who cover your industry in target publications. Pitch journalists who recently wrote about related topics.

What should a good press release include?

Headline, synopsis, dateline, body copy with quotes/data, company background, and contact info. Keep it concise at 1-2 pages.

How can small businesses build relationships with the media?

Become a reliable industry resource, share and comment on articles, meet journalists informally, and pitch relevant story ideas.

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