Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
For any entrepreneur, establishing a strong presence in the media is crucial for brand growth and success. Getting featured in prominent publications helps create buzz around your brand and can significantly boost your company’s visibility, credibility and customer base. However, securing media coverage is not an overnight process; it requires a well-planned, long-term strategy focused on building meaningful relationships with writers and editors. I’ve followed this process while building my DTC cat brand tuft + paw, and it’s paid serious dividends.
The importance of PR for brand growth
Public relations plays a pivotal role in shaping your brand’s image and expanding its reach. A well-crafted media presence can elevate your business above competitors, attracting new customers and potential investors. It is essential to view PR as an ongoing investment in your company’s future rather than a one-time promotional tactic.
Building long-term relationships with writers and editors
Rather than adopting a hit-and-run approach to media coverage, focus on building lasting relationships with journalists, bloggers and editors. Once you have a good rapport going, engage with them on social media, share their articles, and provide valuable feedback. Show genuine interest in their work, and avoid bombarding them with self-promotional messages. Remember, successful PR is symbiotic — it’s about collaboration, not just seeking one-sided benefits.
Step 1: Create a master contact sheet
Organize your media contacts by creating a master sheet that includes information such as names, emails, publication affiliations and notes on previous interactions. Keep track of who you’ve already contacted, and identify the high-priority contacts. This will help you stay organized and maintain a personalized approach when reaching out to writers and editors.
Step 2: Monitor competitor coverage
Stay informed about your competitors’ media coverage using tools like Ahrefs. Set up alerts to be notified whenever a competitor receives a link from a notable website. This provides valuable intel on which publications and writers are willing to create content about your industry/niche and gives you a starting point for your PR outreach. Over time, you’ll also develop a sense for your competitor’s PR strategies, which is valuable in its own right.
Step 3: Reach out to authors and editors directly
When a publication features your competitors, seize the opportunity to reach out to the authors or editors directly. Use tools like Rocket Reach to find their contact information through LinkedIn. Here’s where the actual relationship building starts. Craft a concise and genuine email introducing yourself, your business and your desire for coverage. Offer free products with no strings attached to pique their interest and encourage engagement.
Remember, writers and editors are inundated with free products, and their job is to determine which ones are worth their time. If you have a good product that stands out from the competition, they will be inclined to review it or include it in their content.
Step 4: Keep your email short and meaningful
When contacting writers and editors, keep your email short and to the point. Avoid lengthy pitches, and focus on building a connection instead. A simple and genuine message can go a long way in forging a lasting relationship. Here’s an example:
Hi X, I’m Jackson. I run a DTC cat brand and I’m looking for coverage from good writers/editors. Can I send you a free product no strings?
In two sentences, I’m letting them know who I am, the purpose of this email and what I can offer them. Instead of spending time on compliments, I simply ask for coverage from “good writers/editors,” which expresses my admiration for their work.
The “no strings attached” inclusion is a crucial aspect of this strategy. Don’t go in expecting something right away. As a stranger, it’s best to do them a favor first, let the product do the talking and see where it leads.
The goal: Building lasting relationships
Understand that immediate media coverage might not be achieved through initial outreach. The primary goal is to build rapport and trust with writers and editors. If your product resonates with them, they might cover your brand in the future or even recommend you to their colleagues. Focus on creating a lasting bond, as this can lead to more significant opportunities down the road.
Securing media coverage for your brand is a powerful way to elevate its reputation and attract new customers. However, successful long-term PR is not about seeking quick coverage but rather building strong, lasting relationships with writers and editors. By following the steps laid out here and employing a well-planned approach, creating a master contact sheet, monitoring competitor coverage and crafting meaningful outreach emails, you can increase your chances of getting featured in any publication.
Plugging away at this manual PR work over months and years will create a snowball effect that can lead to even greater rewards. Remember, genuine connections and mutual benefits form the foundation of fruitful PR endeavors that pay off in the long run.