3 Tips to Get Media Coverage for Your Brand
Despite the explosion of blogging and social media content, consumers still give a lot of clout to things they read and watch on more traditional media outlets. While we might be intrigued by a YouTube influencer video explaining the health benefits of a new “superfood” to hit the market, most of us would probably give more authority to an article published on Forbes or the Huffington Post that covered that same topic. For small, startup businesses, one of the best and proven strategies for building influence and awareness of your brand is through media coverage, and being featured in traditional media outlets.
A recent Pew Research poll found that “social media sites have surpassed print newspapers as a news source for Americans: One-in-five U.S. adults say they often get news via social media, slightly higher than the share who often do so from print newspapers (16%).” Despite the vast influence and status of social media, newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV continue to command major attention. In fact, businesses continue to spend more money on traditional advertising outlets.
The problem, of course, is that small, startup businesses and brands rarely have the needed budget to hire in professional help for their media relations. Paid content on major media outlets is most likely out of the reach of smaller companies, especially for content to be featured on national media. Fortunately, with a little bit of effort, small businesses can do their own PR outreach and get media coverage on their brand at a low cost, or for free.
Let us explain…
The Importance of News Coverage
In a competitive market where thousands of small businesses are created each and every day, positive news coverage is a great way to build brand awareness and credibility. A startup Keto food brand, for example, will most likely be trying to gain a foothold in a growing market that is drawing the attention of everyone from small entrepreneurs to major food corporations. Every small business owner should certainly put in the hard work of establishing an online presence, a strong social media following, and relationships with your loyal clients. However, a nationally-published news article that details your story as a company, the uniqueness of your product, or other relevant information will obviously give you a leg up on your competitors.
Positive news coverage will also generate much more web traffic for your company. If you are active on social media, the days shortly after being featured on news outlets will generally see a sharp spike in social media following. Essentially, positive press coverage will put your brand in the public eye, thus helping to build brand awareness, attract new customers, and drive sales.
Tips to Get Media Coverage For Your Brand
Unfortunately, getting a news outlet to cover your brand requires much more than simply sending out a few generic emails to the newspaper of your choice. Journalists receive dozens (if not hundreds) of pitches every day from small businesses and brands asking for coverage. How, then, can your brand stand out from the crowd in order to successfully obtain positive media coverage?
1. Start with Smaller Press Contacts
While a full-length feature on The Guardian or The Washington Post would certainly be nice, most brands know that starting with smaller press contacts is much more likely for success. For low carb food brands that plan on marketing regionally, your local newspaper or TV station would be a great place to start. Selling your “brand story” will give that news outlet a unique angle that will allow them to feature your business from a newsworthy perspective, and not just as a marketing ploy.
Furthermore, small brands should reach out to blogs and websites that are targeted to your specific niche. A website dedicated to healthy living, for example, would be much less “saturated” than national news websites, and would most likely be more open to featuring a company dedicated to bringing healthy products to the low carb market.
Even some of the larger online news outlets will have specific pages where you can submit product tips for future news and media coverage. Check out Mashable’s Submit News page to get an idea of how this might work.
2. Find Contact Information for Individual Journalists
Getting quality news coverage for your brand will take a little bit of research and investigation on your part. While some brands might get lucky and receive a response after simply filling out a few pitch submission forms from large media outlets, a better strategy would be to target individual journalists who have shown a tendency and inclination to covering topics in your niche.
For example, a small cattle farm in Kentucky that is wanting press coverage to help them sell their regenerative-grazed and pasture-fed meat and dairy products might consider reaching out to L. Hunter Lovins, an American environmentalist, author, and the co-founder of Rocky Mountain Institute. Lovins is regularly published on major media outlets and frequently writes about the benefits of regenerative grazing practices.
If no specific journalists come to mind, a simple Google search for sites related to your product or brand niche will help you find websites, blogs, journalists and influencers that will be most likely be more open to receiving a pitch. You can also consider using resources such as Press Hunt, which has a database of contact information for over 750,000 journalists, reporters, and podcasters.
3. Don’t Mass Pitch Your Product
One of the best ways to waste your time is to send out a generic email to dozens of different media outlets. Even if you try to personalize the introduction, journalists and media outlets know how to spot a generic email and will most likely simply ignore you.
Take the time to craft a custom email for each journalist or media channel that you decide to contact. Do your research on their previously published content, and explain why your product or brand might fit with the values and priorities that they want to cover. Some news outlets do publish pieces featuring individual products or brands. In other cases, however, news outlets will be less interested in pushing your products, and more interested in communicating your brand story, the values behind your company, or other relevant and newsworthy information associated with your brand. Be willing to share that information.
If you’re wanting media coverage to coincide with a product launch, offer a free product sample and any relevant information about what makes your product stand apart from the competition. Of course, include your phone number for them to contact you for follow up if they are interested in pursuing a story.
Securing positive press coverage isn’t easy and requires a bit of work and effort. However, a diversified media profile for your brand is a great way to build trust and brand authority without breaking the bank on advertising budgets.