By Abhishek Talreja
Richard Branson once said: “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” In other words, press coverage is priceless, but where do you start? To find out more, we asked 16 marketing experts and entrepreneurs to share interesting and cost-effective ways to get media coverage.
1. Develop a proactive PR strategy
“Proactive pitching is essential—the best way to do this is to find trends company leaders can tie into or speak on. Is the company owned by a mom who balances work and family life? Does the company have a diverse and fun culture? Does the company offer perks and benefits outside of the norm? Those are trends that don’t tie to news but are newsworthy.
“Remember: New developments equals news, something that journalists want to hear about most often. When you have new developments, such as a key new hire on your leadership team, or new customer, new technology, new product, they want to see that there’s momentum with your company and that you’re growing. Share those announcements with the press.
“Build a list of people who cover your industry and read their coverage often so you can share your news with them and tie it back to relevant stuff they’ve been talking about. Even if they don’t cover it the first time around, know that thoughtful PR is about relationship building, and sometimes it takes time to earn coverage.
“Another way to gain coverage is to work with journalists to generate great story ideas and give them access to executives ANYTIME they need commentary on a news or talk about the ‘state of your industry.’ It takes time to build relationships and persistence to make sure all the bases are covered.”—Nicole Rodrigues, CEO and Founder, NRPR Group
2. Use free services such as HARO and SourceBottle
“A terrific technique is to use free services such as HARO and SourceBottle. Business owners and marketers can reach out to outlets that are looking for quotes on industry-specific topics. If your answer is good enough, you’ll get free media coverage and a link back to your website. It’s a win-win situation for both the media and your business.”—Jakub Kliszczak, Marketing Specialist, CrazyCall
3. Create a media event
“One of my clients at my prior agency was a multi-million-dollar resort in Central Florida and the largest development for the hospitality brand to date. Working alongside the resort’s development team, I put together a media event for local influencers and outlets, giving them a behind-the-scenes look at the first four fully-furnished complete vacation homes and the hotel (which was under construction). More than 30 attendees turned up for the festive event which resulted in a total of 50 editorial and social media placements, equaling 31M+ impressions and an unprecedented increase from 700 daily website visits to 30,892. The event went on to win an HSMAI Adrian Award in the public relations special events category.”—Veronica Figueroa, Public Relations Strategist, Laughing Samurai
4. Show off your expertise
“Follow the rules, especially for HARO pitches. Make sure you qualify before responding. When you respond, make sure you answer the question(s). A good way to start is to demonstrate your credibility. I always open a pitch with my relevant credentials and follow with related links that further illustrate thought leadership and credibility. Speak inside and outside your industry on topics of expertise to further enhance credibility. I have averaged 30 annual speaking gigs, in the last 15 years, for example.”—Kent Lewis, President and Founder, Anvil
5. Serve your local community
“Offer your product or service for free to deprived members of a local community. As a driving school, we offer free driving lessons to students and the unemployed in the region. This strategy has helped us generate valuable media coverage, earning us a reputation among our audience. The press coverage also has helped us get hundreds of paying customers.”—Amara Ukaigwe, CEO, Book Learn Pass
6. Organize a local event
“One way to get free media coverage is to organize a local event and submit it as a press release to local news outlets. For example, you might collaborate with a handful of other like-minded businesses in your area. If you’re a real estate professional, you might reach out to other real estate-related companies, general contractors, interior designers, etc. and collaborate with them on creating a local event. The event could be anything from a free educational seminar (hosted at a local venue) to a non-profit drive, walk, or event.
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