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Here’s How to Get Your Business Published
Good news! This post has tips you can use right now. Tips that will help your business get noticed.
As business owners, we all know how important it is to get links pointing to our websites. That helps with SEO, which is something we constantly need to work on. Articles posted to high-ranking websites that link to your business website are very desirable.
Furthermore, young audiences tend to consume most of their content online, so if you want to reach them, digital is the way to go.
We also want people to learn about us the old-fashioned way: in print. As important as SEO is, I’ve found that some of your most important audiences like to hold a newspaper or magazine in their hands. Those audiences tend to be older. They tend to have more money. They are often decision-makers.
By getting the attention of an editor or journalist at a magazine or newspaper that has a print and online presence, you can connect with audiences of all kinds. Here’s what you need to know to get published.
Make Comprehensive Lists of Publications, Editors, and Writers
If you think you’ll get the coverage you want by waiting until the last minute to reach out to your contacts at newspapers and magazines, think again. Editors plan in advance. There are occasions when a story will make it into a publication at the last minute, but it’s rare.
Drop that approach right now. Just forget about it. Instead, think strategically.
Open a fresh Google doc or Apple note on your phone and make a list of the publications that align with the story of your business. If you own a fashion brand, include Orlando Style on your list. If you own a performance venue, include Orlando Weekly. If you’re an interior designer, Orlando Magazine is for you. Most businesses will benefit from inclusion in Orlando Business Journal. These are local-to-Orlando examples, but wherever you live, there are similar publications.
Once you have your list of publications, develop relationships with editors and journalists who serve them. Start by looking at the publication’s masthead and make a list of names. The editorial staff is who you need to know. Not the publisher, not the sales team, not the photographers. Focus on the editors. They are the ones who decide which stories get published and nobody else.
The second tier of relationships to cultivate is journalists. Look at every publication that is of interest to you and see who writes for them. You may need to collect 10 or 12 issues of each publication to get a well-rounded sense of who the writers are. One issue won’t cut it. Make a list of the writers. If you’re super-smart about it, you’ll create a spreadsheet where you track your attempts to connect with each person. Documenting your efforts will keep you honest and avoid leaving out key people.
Do your research to find out what events they will be at. Use Linkedin to discover who you know in common with them. Ask around. Let your curiosity lead the way. Remind yourself that each of these people has great value not only to you and your business but to the community.
Understand the Publications’ Audiences
When an editor decides to include a story in an issue, she isn’t doing it for you. She isn’t interested in special favors. She is doing it for the readers. That means you need to understand the readers.
Before you contact an editor or journalist, make sure you have an incredibly solid understanding of the kinds of stories the publication runs and exactly how those stories are positioned to serve its readers. Do not waste your time trying to convince an editor or writer that your pitch is awesome even though it doesn’t fit the mold. It’s not going to work.
There is one way to understand a publication, and that is to read it. Become a student of the publication. Become its biggest fan. You should be so well-versed that if you were to bump into one of its editors at Starbucks randomly, you could carry on an educated conversation about an article that was published last June. There is no better way to impress an editor than to reveal how well you understand their work. Make yourself unforgettable.
Network to gain access
Every publication is associated with events or hosts and sponsors events. Be at those events. Be a listener, not a talker. Consume information like it’s the most delicious meal you’ve ever tasted.
Take notes, write down names, and send Linkedin connection requests to the people you met within 24 hours of the event. Make yourself known to the publication’s community, not as the guy who couldn’t stop talking about how amazing his business is, but as the guy who was attentive and interested in what people had to say. Ask great questions. Invite others to share their stories. If a conversation is going too long, be prepared with friendly exit strategies.
Develop several pitches
Once you’re a known quantity in the publication’s community, your pitches will be better received. If you’re. a great writer, you can write your own pitches. If writing isn’t your forte, you can hire an agency like Seed Marketing Studio to craft your pitch for you. Here are some notes you’ll want to hit with each pitch:
- Introduction. Remind the recipient of your email how you are connected, even if you don’t know them well.
- Jump into the meat. Introductions are typically glossed over, so launch into your pitch quickly. Explain you have a great story and give a 3-sentence overview.
- Show relevance. Explain how the story you are pitching is similar to some other stories they have run, and give examples.
- Connect back to the readers. Explain what value you have to offer the publication’s readers. Whatever your expertise or offer is, show how it benefits the audience.
- Include visuals. Pictures that illustrate your story and ideas are very helpful and make your pitch more memorable.
- Include links. Include a link to your company website. Magazine editors typically do not care about your social media channels. Your IG account is not a substitute for a website.
- Include contact information. Your direct phone number should be right under your name in the closing.
- Send from a professional email address. firstname.lastname@example.org isn’t going to cut it. Make it make sense!
Your media relations plan should be in constant development. If it’s January, look to break through in June. This is a slow roll that’s all about methodically growing a deep and lasting connection to the media.