How To Get More Media Placements, According to a PR Pro
In our series Selfmade U, we’ll tackle the most common questions and pain points that come up for business owners with tips and tricks from Selfmade, a virtual business coaching program, founded by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and sponsored by Office Depot OfficeMax. We’ll hear from Selfmade members and business coaches on what it takes to run a successful business and make it as an entrepreneur.
Getting journalists and influencers to notice your brand can be a valuable way to gain credibility and get the word out about your business. But how do you shine through a sea of PR (public relations) pitches?
“I believe that the most important approach when it comes to PR is to own your experience and expertise,” says Elayna Fernandez, a single mom of four and founder of The Positive MOM.
Elayna was selected by SUCCESS Magazine as one of the 125 Most Impactful Leaders. Her work has been featured on Forbes, CNN, WSJ, The Huffington Post, Good Morning America, and a slew of local news stations. She’s also a contributing writer to Entrepreneur Magazine.
“Many of us have been conditioned to hide our skills and gifts, and have learned to feel shame around bragging. I always say, ‘it’s not bragging if it’s true.’ It’s important to shift this paradigm and give ourselves permission to be seen. I am grateful to have been featured in so many TV and radio shows, podcasts and publications, because visibility breeds credibility,” says Elayna.
Born and raised in a slum in the Dominican Republic, Elayna uses her powerful story of resilience to inspire other moms to tell their stories and turn them into profit through books, courses and public talks. “When moms have the tools to develop personally and professionally, they create a positive environment for their children, and they can prosper financially,” she says.
Elayna received an Office Depot OfficeMax scholarship to Selfmade to connect with other founders and help grow her business. “I am extremely grateful to Office Depot because I have loved every second of my membership in Selfmade,” she says. “I value the power of community and mentorship, so this is a great fit. Selfmade provides access to tools, resources, and information that women need in our business journey.”
Selfmade coaches help members gain real business experience around branding, marketing and pitching your business. Here are tips for getting journalists and influencers talking and writing about your brand:
Understand your target audience: Who are you trying to reach? Find the outlets that make sense for your audience and concentrate on tailoring your message to them. Create a list of media outlets, journalists, bloggers, and influencers who cover topics related to your brand.
Create a compelling story: This doesn’t have to be your life story but should be unique to you and your brand. “When you tell your story in an authentic way, you can inspire and impact others,” says Elayna. Journalists, whether in traditional media or on social media, are more likely to cover stories that are timely, unique, and relevant to their audience.
Prepare a media kit: This should include a press release (find examples online or freelance this out if you’re not familiar with how they are written), high quality images of your product or service, relevant stats, and a little about you as the founder and what makes your story worth sharing.
Craft a persuasive pitch: A good pitch makes a journalist’s job easier. Write a concise and engaging pitch that outlines your story idea and why it’s relevant to their audience. Avoid sending mass emails; instead, personalize your pitch to each journalist by referencing their previous work. Make sure to include great visuals! Offering a sample of your product or service always helps get your pitch noticed too.
Always follow up: Journalists get hundreds of pitches a week. If you don’t receive a response after a few days, consider sending a polite follow-up email to remind them of your pitch.
Leverage your network: Reach out to existing contacts, colleagues, and industry connections to help make introductions or provide referrals to journalists. Continue building relationships with journalists even when you’re not actively pitching too. Not every pitch will result in a placement but you can continue to refine your approach so that future pitches will.
Elayna was also one of 10 participants in last spring’s Selfmade pitch competition. “The panel of experts offered valuable, honest feedback and it led to greater clarity as to what my next steps should be. As a finalist, I was grateful to receive Office Depot products to make my office environment more pleasant and professional.”
Elayna was able to create a more comfortable workspace that has helped her to be more productive and creative by reducing clutter. “I’ve come to understand that success feels like peace. This peace comes from being true to my values, doing what is aligned with my soul, and prioritizing what matters most to me,” says Elayna.
To learn more about growing your business, sign up for the Selfmade newsletter!
Illustrated by Daniela Jordan-Villaveces
Get your brand noticed with the help of Office Depot OfficeMax, which can help you organize & save time with a suite of business services & solutions to help you accomplish more. From signs, posters & banners to marketing materials, Office Depot can help bring your brand vision to life.