How to get your first press feature | Tapiwa Matsinde
Your first press feature marks an exciting moment in your entrepreneurial journey. I still remember landing my first piece of press. The fact that someone believed in me enough to share my story marked a pivotal moment in how I saw and felt about myself as a business owner and the potential for my business.
Getting featured in the press is a great way to share your story, it helps to increase your visibility, raise awareness about your business, and bring you directly in front of your desired audiences. And with the right approach securing press coverage is something you can do yourself.
However, as with taking on anything new, if you have never done this before it can be difficult knowing where to start.
To help you get on your feet when it comes to press coverage, I have put together a few simple steps that will show you how you can get started. I hope they help!
1. Understand why you want press and create a plan of action
Much like doing anything you want to succeed at having an action plan will help direct your steps. Start by asking yourself why you want press- is it to launch a new product? When you will need it, is it to coincide with a special calendar event? Knowing this and more will help you set the necessary deadlines to achieve your goal.
2. Identify and reach out to the right media outlets
Knowing why you want press will help direct you towards the appropriate media outlets. It can be tempting to contact every blog, magazine, and newspaper you come across but not all media will suit your message. You therefore need to be selective about which publications and platforms are right for you and your business, as being featured in media that has no relevance to your business could do more harm than good to the reputation you are working so hard to build, as it can easily confuse your customers on areas such as your values and what you stand for.
3. Look beyond well-known media outlets.
While being featured in well-known media outlets can boost your credibility, smaller publications and those within your niche have the advantage of bringing you directly in front of a higher percentage of your target audience. For example, a leading trend-driven lifestyle glossy will cater to a much broader audience than say an industry publication focusing on connecting lifestyle businesses to retailers.
4. Know your audience
A good way of finding what media outlets to approach is to know your audience. Get to know who they are, what interests them, and what publications and platforms they read and visit. This is valuable information to help you hone in on the right media outlets to share your message. Another tip is to look and see if your peers and competitors are being featured on those outlets. If they are that is a good sign as it shows an existing interest in profiles and businesses like yours.
5. Research the media outlets you’ve identified.
Once you have a list of potential media outlets, go through their content and identify any gaps that your message can fill or complement. As you do this also find the name and contact details of the person you need to send your press feature request to. One of the main reasons press requests fail is because they have been sent to the wrong person or to an inappropriate email address.
6. Create and send your pitch
A pitch is a way of introducing and presenting your story idea or press release to the media outlet. A pitch is typically a concise email message that tells the contact who you are, what you do, and what you are pitching. At this stage, it is enough to provide a summary of the key points in bullet point form. If your contact is interested in taking things further, they will contact you for more information.
7. Make it easy for the contact to get the information they need
Being professional and organised will help you stand out. The best way to do this is to put together a media kit that contains all the necessary information about you and your business. You can include a link to it in your pitch message. A media kit contains bios, press releases, links, images, captions and so forth saving busy journalists and platform owners valuable time in going back and forth to get what they need.
When you land your first press feature or any other press features for that matter, drop the journalist a note to thank them and keep in touch to cultivate that relationship for future opportunities.
I hope these tips help you and do keep in mind that getting featured in the press takes time – so keep trying!