Founder + CEO, ClutchPR, Co-founder, BooknBrunch.com. Board member -Regent Park Film Festival. In one short phone call I'll help you locate the right DIY tactics that will get you 'free' (earned) press for yourself or your business. Once upon a time I owned a fast food old school burger joint. For 7 years it ran smoothly and I began to volunteer my time a the Toronto Film Festival in the press office. They hired me and for years I was a publicist. I launched my company over 10 years ago and haven't looked back. In between the burgers and the press I got my motorcycle license, started a business in the Caribbean, organized a block party for 20,000 people, became a film festival expert, project managed public concerts, marketed hotels and food startups, graced the cover of a magazine, became a certified yoga instructor, and joined a board. I also had three kids in under 5 years. ClutchPR has clients in arts, entertainment, tech, startups, travel, tourism and hospitality. We love helping startups get to where they want to be. Give me a call to see how I can help you. I won't bite, promise. I live to help others and support their entrepreneurial or artistic dreams.
Amazing that you're 16 with these ambitions and having already started something. Failure is great - this is how brilliant founders are born- at some point in your entreprenuerial journey no matter who are - you fail. It is a learning. Get a memtor! Someone who has done the thing you are trying to do and is inline with your core values and your business. It's not easy and choose them carefully - make sure you offer them something in return. There is no such thing as preparation in my opinion. There is only execution. In startup you are valued for and rewarded for in your execution. Actually there is preparation and its this: know clearly who you want to serve and know clearly who is already serving this group and how they are doing it. Then know what makes you better/ different/unique and finally know how to package and communicate this out in a story form to the world. That's your preparation. But the truth about business is you don't know what you don't know and you have to do testing and you must research the market you are entering before entering. So you can understand what kind of arena you're getting in and who the key players are. One piece of advice though is to FOCUS. I spent too much of my early career doing too many things. The more you streamline the better. If you're an engineer -then you must know they are in huge demand in the startup world. If you're feeling stuck go do something that grounds you and gets you away from your work for a little bit. For me this is a walk in nature. Anyway good luck and keep going!
Hi - we have worked with a number of subscription box services. I have over 15 years helping startups in various industries and spaces. In terms of best channels it depends on the company. How long have you been in business? I would need more detail to give a proper answer but here are some avenues that might work. 1) I would do a big launch announcement and use a key influencer in the space to host it 2) I would send the launch news to the top tier media outlets in your market and in national markets 3) Put resources towards a great short shareable video that explains what the UVP of your service is 4) Find a journalists or writer friend and take them for coffee and brainstorm 20 different press angles for your business -- earned media is one of the best ways to acquire customers 5) Put effort into your content marketing strategy and specifically instagram -that's a great place to market to women. In short you need a combo of:
2) Owned media (social channels)
3) Paid media - sponsored posts, boosting FB ads,etc
If you're limited on resources focus on the first two as they don't cost you anything but your time. If you have the money consider bringing on a consultant or agency to help manage and execute some of your strategies. There are no 'best' channels - every service, ecomm and business is different so requires a different approach Good luck and if you want more info I'm happy to hop on a call.
I have owned my PR agency for 15+ years, have also been an individual consultant and strategist and helped other small businesses and startups select the right PR firm for them. This can be tricky. Finding the right publicist or PR firm is about fit and also chemistry. A successful PR will feel like an integral part of your team and will bolster all of the activities you do.
Ensure you look for someone who understands your business and your unique value proposition. It's also helpful if they know your area of expertise well. For instance if you're a speaker and wellness coach and they have never publicized anyone in this field it might be tricky for them to land top tier placement for you as they need established media relationships in your industry/area. Whatever you do ensure you interview a few agencies or individuals before going forward. Start by asking trusted friends and colleagues for referrals. Once you've selected your top three choices set up calls or meetings with them to learn more about their style and their specialty. Here are some questions to ask: 1. How many clients are you currently servicing?
2. Who are they?
3. How many years have you been in business?
4. Can you pitch me my brand/product/personality as if I was a journalist?
5. What would your approach be to getting the word out about our story/brand?
6. What tools do you use to get your job done?
7. How do you define success?
We have created a free ebook about this very topic. Feel free to download it here: https://clutchpr.com/free-ebooks/
Happy to help answer any questions you might need. Good luck with it.
I have been in PR for close to 20 years and placed clients in NY Times, CNN, Conde Naste publications and major outlets around the world. To answer your questions:
-Would email or phone call be better?
Email as a first point of contact. Keep your message to under 200 words and your subject line direct and short 45-65 characters long max.
-How do I get their phone numbers?
Ask for their number in your email. Alternatively every media outlet has a masthead with names of writers and editors and sometimes a number for the office. Call the main line and ask for the extensions of the people you want to connect with.
- If I send an email would it be enough to simply say "Hi....this is my exciting new site and it does xyz, I thought you may be interested in covering it. Please let me know if you want extra info."?
Your company launching is not news. What you need to do is discover the story angles for your company and website. We call it the 'story hunt.' Bloggers and journalists are not there to promote you or write about you. They are in the business of 'news' and also serving their audience and looking for timely subjects that will get them the most clicks and are shareable. To do this right you need to think like a journalist and ask yourself is it really newsworthy?
If you fall into one of these categories they will likely consider you newsworthy. You want to be newsworthy for the right reasons so keep that in mind.
-Do I help them craft an interesting angle to the story?
Yes 100% it's your job to craft the story and come up with angles and supporting evidence for that angle.
Here is a post we wrote about how to help create an angle that they would bite on.
. Provide a twist on trending news.
If a particular trend, style or accessory is hot in the media, you can bet that journalists are scrambling to one-up each other with new stories. You can fill that void — but you absolutely, positively must show up with a twist to the story they’re already reporting. Share a personal story, a surprising survey result or the contrarian view.
2. Localize a national story.
Pick up your local newspaper or flick on your local breakfast television show, and you’ll see countless examples of businesses that got their 15 minutes by being the local example of a larger story. These types of stories are the bread-and-butter of your hometown press.
3. Nationalize a local story.
This trick also works in reverse. Scan your local news for hometown stories and ask yourself, Does this story have national relevance? How can I frame it for a reporter, and insert myself in the story in the process? This is how a lot of freelance writers get their ideas — and it can work wonders for you, too.
4. Be a contrarian.
Objective journalism hinges on getting “both sides of the story.” If you’re seeing a one-sided media conversation about a trend or your specific product, it’s an opportunity for you to break through as an expert — especially if you’re willing to champion the underdog opinion. Once upon a time, no one believed anyone would buy luxury fashion online. Net-A-Porter, a now multi-million dollar business, categorically proved them wrong.
5. Personalize big data.
Very few micro businesses have the data samples or poll results that attract press. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be the case study that helps the reporter tell the data story. Set up alerts for surveys and polls on topics relevant to your business, and let the media know when you’re the case study for the results (or the exception to the rule).
6. Reinvent the holiday story.
Sick of reading the same-old holiday or seasonal stories? Journalists are tired of them, too. And, yet, it’s inevitable. Every Mother’s Day, you’re going to read countless stories on gifts for mom. If you can give a reporter a new spin on that seasonal feature she has to write every year, you’re on the fast-track to being her go-to source when she’s writing a story on a deadline.
7. Are you releasing something new? Use it!
-Do I show them how it ties in with previous stories?
Yes if it does show them definitely.
-Do I try to send pics, a link to the site, interesting infographics or attached pdfs about site?
Your first email will be short and direct with no attachments and no fuss. When they reply saying they want more send them all the goods and make sure you tell them that you have all the goods in the first email.
-Do I ask them straight out to cover the story or do I tell them their readers may find value in our offering?
Asks should always be direct. Don't waste people's time. However the idea is you have a story angle that is VALUABLE to them and to their readers. Their audience has to find value in the offering. Without that you are just asking for promotion in exchange for nothing. Always ask yourself, 'what's in it for the journalist?' before you fire off a pitch.
-How do I ensure they don't just read the first line and delete?
Make the story compelling! If you know the journalist ( a must!), know what they write about, know their beat, understand their tastes (hint: follow them in Twitter) and you've sent them a good targeted, personalized pitch with a strong hook they are less likely to delete after the first line. You need to be a good listener before pitching journalists and understand the anatomy of a good story. Good luck!
If you want more tips and trade secrets happy to chat with you. Our agency doesn't take no for an answer and we have a reputation for being tenacious and getting a crazy awesome response rate because we take the time and invest in listening to the press so we can be of value to them. You got this!
The art of pitching and approaching journalists and media is about adding value to their lives and about building a relationship with them. I'm a veteran PR and one of our agencies core services is PR for start-ups. We have placed our clients in NY Times, Sunday Times (UK), Yahoo and thousands of other major media publications. Calling a journalist or meeting with them in real life is the best way to get them to 'listen' but sometimes that's not possible. If you're a complete stranger to them start by reaching out via Twitter and see if you can get a conversation going. When you're ready to pitch think very carefully about what makes your company newsworthy. If you don't know what is newsworthy start reading all the outlets that you'd like to be featured in. Pitches and outreach should be 100% personalized. Don't go for the spray and pray (send out a release and hope someone picks it up) that rarely leads to any results. Your first communication to a journalist or writer should be extremely succinct - a few lines at best. Brevity and a great email subject line are the key to getting them to open an email. Don't think about how awesome your start-up is instead think about how you can become an SME for them and someone they trust and can come to. Their job is not to promote your business, their job is to write compelling news stories. I can't speak to PR web or Pitch Pigeon because we don't use services like that. We work to create relationships with media so they come to trust us and come to us for tips and sources. It's a tricky thing and tough if you're just starting out, though not impossible. If you have a great company and some success under you belt you can definitely pitch yourself to relevant journalists. Create a good list and start pitching! In our office we have a saying, 'Clarity through action.' You'll have no idea if they care to listen or if what you have is newsworthy until you start diving down the rabbit hole of pitching them. If you get a reply and it's a no make sure you ask for feedback. It's always good to know what they're working on or why your story may or may not be a fit. Good luck! If you've got further questions I'm happy to hop on a call about it all.
I have close to 20 years in this department and have placed clients in the NY Times, Sunday Times (UK), AP, Buzzfeed and outlets around the world. Getting press is about thoughtful, personalized, targeted pitches. Press releases are useless. We still write them for clients and use them as reference tools but they are not what gets the job done. What gets the job done is being a useful source for journalists and media, talking to them in a language they understand and like and offering value. There are thousands of ways to skin a cat. Here is one of many many many tactics that you can use. As CEO ask yourself what you're a SME (subject matter expert) in. Make a list of topics you can speak about intelligently and with complete authority. Then look up articles and press from journalists who write about those topics, track down the writers through Twitter, FB, LinkedIn and other ways (many freelancers have their own websites) and introduce yourself and your company. Don't make it a sell about the company, simply make it an introduction and let them know that should they ever need a source to speak about X,Y,Z etc. that you are available anytime. Ask them what stories they're working on. Get a conversation and relationship going in a human and interesting way. Have a sense of humour. Be authentic. Keep it short -always. Be of value and of interest to them. Offer your product free for them to try simply so that you can get their feedback and with no promise of coverage. Over time they will come to trust you, like you, be interested in what you offer and give you coverage in return. Start with a great targeted list of journalists you'd like to approach and then build that list out as time goes. Things media pay attention to: the first, the last, the smallest, the largest, the most expensive, the only, the fastest, the slowest. What makes your offering special, newsworthy, different? Find not just one or two hooks but as many hooks as you can and go after them. This advice is the tip of the ice berg. If you have questions don't hesitate to reach out. Happy to answer any questions you have or provide further insights once I know the complete nature of your business. Good luck!
No easy answer. We have worked with hundreds of businesses on this front. Facebook is good and worth it if you target correctly. Twitter is excellent for reaching reporters and bloggers. Instagram is good for the fashion, lifestyle, artist, foodie audience. There are sooo many channels to choose from. Pinterest is excellent in terms of beautiful consumer packaged goods, fashion. Choose your channels and strategy according to how you are targeting. They are all valuable for their own reasons. Your owned content is the most the valuable and effective way to reach people. So that means writing excellent blog posts and publishing them on a consistent schedule -positioning yourself as the SME in your space. I agree about Reddit -it's insanely powerful but if you're not authentic and you're there to sell they will boot you out in a heartbeat. Vine, Snapchat, Reddit, Google+, YouTube, Feed, Thumb, Medium, Chirp, Learnist, RebelMouse, Yammer, Ning, Tumblr... and I could list hundreds more. There are thousands of tools and channels. Find the right one(s) for your company and create a strategy around those channels. Pitching your story to high profile blogs or websites from an editorial standpoint is also a good idea. PR alone or social networking alone won't result in being propelled to fame. 'Fame' comes when you have that magical cocktail of opportunity, timing, preparedness and you're offering something that truly sparks people's imaginations. Happy to hop on a call about any of this. Good luck!
Your frustration is common. We work with start-ups, small and large businesses every day and they all feel this way at one time or another. Chin up. There is lots you can do DIY style to help increase traffic to your site.
Media is divided in three pillars: owned, earned and paid.
Paid media is traditional advertising (billboards, digital ads, etc.) Earned media is a PR firm's speciality we work to pitch your story to the press and get you into major newspapers, on TV, radio, online in a variety of outlets. If you can get yourself earned editorial media it's technically 'free' as you don't pay for the coverage. Owned media is all the channels you control -namely social media.
If you are strapped for budget you should be focusing on owned and earned media. Let's start with owned.
Make sure you are on all the relevant channels for your target audience. Here are some guidelines for how much you should be updating your various owned channels.
Blog - 3 -5 times a week
Twitter - 8-12 updates a day
Facebook -2 times a day
Instagram - once a day at least
Of course there are hundreds of other channels you could be using (LinkedIn, reddit, Snapchat, Google+ etc...)
This will just give you a sense. The trick here is that the content you upload to your owned channels needs to be truly awesome. Stuff that is shareable and stuff that speaks directly to your customer base. Across all the channels you will have CTAs (calls to action) that help your readers/consumers/customers find you, buy the product, get to your website. However the content you post should NOT be spammy and directly selling to them. It should inform them or entertain them and always provide value.
Let's talk a little about earned media. Anyone can do it definitely and you don't need to hire a PR firm however you do need these things:
-a solid list of relevant media contacts
-TIME - hours and hours to craft your pitch and send personalized notes to each of the journalists
-a newsworthy story to pitch them
-a thick skin
-excellent copy writing skills
Many people have successfully scored their own press. Sign up for things like HARO and you're off to a good start. However many entrepreneurs do hire PR firms because they simply don't have the time or know-how to get the job done well. You are usually busy running your own business and that is your area expertise so it's nice to have a PR professional work on helping market your business.
How to bring traffic to your website in a world so saturated with content is a rabbit hole of conversation that I enjoy going down with business owners. There are so many moving parts to it and it's not simply a matter of getting yourself in Forbes, or NY Times (though that certainly helps!)
What I've mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg.
Hope some of this helps and I'm happy to talk about it further should you want to chat. Every project has it's own unique needs and story to tell so thats where you need to start. What makes you/your business so special? Answer that honestly and you'll have the start of a strategy.
Always well before. Lead times for journalists are very far out. Most online editors have an 8-10 week lead time. Magazines work 4-6 months out. Even the daily newspapers and blogs appreciate having information as early as possible. Make sure you have a good list that is lean and targeted. Start building your media list as early as possible or work with someone to help you build the list. Send the release out at LEAST three weeks before launch if you can, then use the remaining time to follow up with thoughtful individual notes that are targeted to that journalists outlet/media platform. Make each pitch as personalized as possible and know what they usually cover and how they cover it. Be specific about what makes your product/service/company different, unique and newsworthy. Now is also the time to leverage any friendships or relationships you have in the media. If you have a friend or a student studying in PR rope them into helping you as much as possible. Be strategic about what types of media you are reaching out to keeping in mind the market and audience for your product. It can sometimes take months to place a story in a well known media outlet. Other times if your product is extremely innovative or hot it can move fast. Make sure you have great high res images and full details ready to go if a journalist bites. Have a fact sheet or small media kit ready to go. If you have a celebrity or pseudo celebrity you can leverage for a testimonial or endorsement -use that to your advantage. Start as early as humanly possible planting seeds with press and potentially offering exclusive information if it makes sense. Gaining traction in the media for a crowdfunding campaign is full time work. We have helped several companies do this both with indiegogo and Kickstarter. Good luck! Happy to chat more if you have any questions.
I am a firm believer in hiring professionals to do a professional job. We have worked with dozens of freelance videographers and helped brands achieve some sharp marketing videos.
So some tips:
1) Hire a freelance videographer and writing team. Developing a story board is not easy and there are brilliant writers just waiting for jobs like this.
2) If you are going the DIY route make sure there is a beginning, a middle and an end to your story board.
3) Use humour where possible.
4) Keep the script short and attempt to get your message out in the first 30 seconds.
5)Speak directly to the audience -so know really well who that audience is!
6) Find the right tone depending on your company brand and mission.
7) Tell a solid story. So you want to start by presenting a problem, introducing a solution, then explain how it works, and lastly create a call to action for your target audience.
Hope this helps. I'm here if you'd have further questions.
Hope this helps