If you’re like any smart entrepreneur, you want to know how to get free publicity for your business. Having landed 35+ podcast interviews in the last couple of months and being featured on Business Insider twice, I know that it’s a big celebration when you finally land some free publicity for your company.
For newbies, however, there’s so much information out there about making it work that it can be overwhelming. That’s why I asked expert publicist and former reporter Christina Nicholson how she does it. As a PR strategist and with a background as a news reporter, she knows all about publicity from both perspectives. So who better to ask? What follows are her tips on scoring free publicity for your business and making the most out of it.
Whether you’re aiming for a written piece in a digital publication, a podcast interview, or a feature from a reporter directly, there are some mistakes that way too many business owners are making. The worst part is that many of them never hear back at all, so they keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
Discuss the Value and Audience Connection
Occasionally I’ll get people pitching to be a guest on my own podcast, Better Biz Academy, where they make no connection to my audience. For example, a fashion designer wanting to push a new spring line has nothing to do with my audience of freelancers.
Likewise, if your pitch says “I just wrote a book about XYZ” and XYZ has nothing to do with my audience, I’m going to ignore your pitch. Make sure you are talking about the value you bring to that person’s audience.
I love podcasting because it’s free and as long as you provide value, hosts will love you. If you spend forty minutes talking about how great you are rather than solving problems, however, the host might even decide not to publish your interview.
Publications care about readers, tv shows about viewers, and podcasts about listeners. Don’t make it about you.
Talk About a Specific Aspect
If you want to land interviews or features, talk about one specific thing you did rather than a paragraph long explanation of you and your business. Here are some examples:
- I’d love to share how I converted 30% of my brand new subscribers.
- I’d love to talk about why court reporting is one of the fastest-growing fields in the country and how I made six figures doing it.
- I have a step-by-step strategy for getting a book published in 30 days or less that would connect really well with your audience of potential authors.
Don’t Be too Pushy or Promotional with Your Content
Christina says that media outlets are always looking for content, but if you’re overly promotional, they’ll skim right over it. “People spend too much time pitching who they are and what they do. That’s one reason you’re not earning media exposure. You’re only thinking of your own promotion and not what the media wants.”
Remember that although your end goal might be a mention or a credibility builder in a particular outlet, the media wants to hear it from the perspective of the spin of the story. It’s not all about you, rather, it’s about the story.
“You need to do something to both educate and entertain an audience and you need to do it with emotion. The emotion comes in when you introduce a “real person” into your story. The emotion and basis of the story comes with that person talking about your product or service. Nine times out of 10, that is your golden ticket,” Christina says.
Make it Personal
Those blanket emails you’re sending to every possible reporter are not going to cut it. Christina says that as a journalist she was hit with hundreds of these and they were all ignored because they weren’t personalized.
“When pitching the media, know who you’re pitching and tell him or her why you think they are a good fit. Too many journalists receive blanketed pitches that are not personalized. In my 10 years of reporting, I can’t remember one personalized pitch from someone I didn’t know,” Christina says.
That means forging a personal connection- mention something about how the station or the publication. Having a personal connection shows that you care and it really doesn’t take that much extra time to show that you actually want your content featured in that location rather than ANY location.
Never Send a Press Release as a Pitch
Christina says this is the fastest way to have your email go right to the trash bin. Never make your pitch subject line the same intro as your press release. She says, “Press releases are usually too long, too promotional, and irrelevant to what the media outlet covers. Instead, tease the story with 4-5 sentences.”
You’re not looking to sell someone a product when you reach out to the media. Instead, you’re looking to pique their interest. They don’t need the whole backstory on you and your business.
Follow these tips to get great free publicity for your business and show reporters that you’re a credible source worth coming back to again.