Having a hard time getting your company featured in the media? Wondering why editors aren’t jumping out of their seats to cover your story? If you aren’t getting any PR hits, your strategy simply isn’t working and you need to take a different approach. It’s time to face the hard truth about why the media doesn’t care about your brand and what you can do to turn your PR success around.
Stop Overselling Your Brand
Let’s face it, if your brand isn’t Google, Apple, Amazon, or Facebook, calling yourself an “industry leader” within your space is simply an exaggeration. Editors hear this phrase all too often within company pitches and if they aren’t already familiar with your brand, it’s likely that they will throw that email pitch in the trash because you are overselling yourself. Avoid the car salesman approach when targeting top-tier editors, because truth be told, no one likes to be over-sold on something.
Tell Your Brand’s Story
While at a lunch meeting with a HuffPost editor, he reiterated the fact that an editor’s job is to tell an informative story. His piece of advice for in-house public relations teams or public relations agencies was to tell your company’s story in a creative way. Plain and simple. If you start your pitch with, “When…” and begin telling a story instead of starting with a one-sided ask, requesting something from the editor, you’re more likely to grab the attention of the person reading the email and entice them into featuring your story on their online publication.
Positioning your pitch is when you can get creative with your brand’s story. If the founders of your company come from an interesting entrepreneurial background or have a unique story about how they established their business, this is when you should showcase the passion that ignited their brand.
Another idea is to tell a story about a recent hardship your company has faced and what you did to successfully overcome it. Every brand has a story, you just need to find the roots of the story and position your brand in a unique way.
Improve Your Company’s Culture
If your brand’s products, services, or background story aren’t grabbing the media’s attention, it’s time to steer away from the brand’s offering and get your foot in the door with the media from another angle. One aspect that receives a lot of media attention within any industry is a company’s work place environment and culture, and this is something that every company can improve upon.
If your company doesn’t currently offer any unique employee benefits or have a fun workplace environment that is up to the “millennial standard,” I would strongly recommend making a slight addition to your company’s employee offering or considering improving your office space. I’m not saying you need to completely change your company’s policy or redesign your office, but improving your company’s culture and offering something unique that other companies aren’t required to, improves your overall marketing strategy and can’t hurt your chances of securing media coverage.
Make An Impact
If employee benefits or office environment aren’t aspects you can improve upon, you can also consider participating in a philanthropic activity or hosting a charity event as a company. It can be as easy as allowing your employees to get out an hour early if they agree to volunteer their time at a local non-profit or offering your employees an incentive if they participate in a company philanthropic activity.
There are several editors and outlets that would feature your company in an article discussing how your business gives back to the community. For example, for the past two years, Fortune has featured companies that encourage their employees to volunteer by offering them incentives. What business wouldn’t want to secure media coverage on Fortune?
Adjust Your Offering
If every approach you try is getting ignored or shut down by editors from several different publications, offer the editor something they care about. In other words, give them a reason to write about your company.
Are you offering them an exclusive interview with a spokesperson or one of the founders of your company? Are you incentivizing them with an exclusive sneak peak into your products or services? Are you highlighting a recent trend your brand has been experiencing within the industry?
Stories get published based on the editor’s willingness to feature your brand within their article. Make an offer the editor can’t refuse, and you’ll likely end up with a feature or a mention at the very least.
Lastly, Understand The Media Cycle
Timing is everything within the media. An innovative product or a relevant story that is pitched at the wrong time is practically useless. In contrary, an average product or decent story that is pitched at the right time, is more likely to get picked up. It’s critical that your public relations team understands that in order to make the media care about your brand, you need to be relevant during seasonality and industry trends.
Have you ever heard of a dead month or a black out date? It’s safe to assume that editors are going to be busy at least two weeks before every big holiday, and don’t even think about trying to pitch a story to an editor during December. The more time-sensitive a story is, the more mindful you need to be of the media cycle and how to time your story perfectly.
Aside from the obvious holiday seasons, it’s important to be in “the know” of other seasonal trends that impact your brand and your marketing strategy i.e. Google’s algorithm updates, the release of the newest smartphone, back to school months, etc. Being aware of industry trends and understanding what people want during seasonal peaks can only benefit you and improve the likelihood that the media will show an interest in your brand.
Let’s face it, unless your company is saving lives or developing a life-changing technology, you’re going to have to put time and effort into making the media care about your brand. You can’t just assume that people care about your brand as much as you do. Luckily, there are several approaches you can take to make your brand stand out to the media and improve the likelihood of your public relation’s team successfully securing media coverage.