It used to be that the only way to win press exposure for your brand was a press release. You could write your own and send it using a distribution service, or pay a copywriter and then pay to send it out. Both methods cost more than most artisans have to spend. That’s why I found a better way.
Why the press release doesn’t work– and what does
Journalists receive so many press release emails every week that most don’t even read them anymore. It’s not that they’re not looking for stories, but that press releases rarely tell a good story. At best, most broadcast a product without offering the reporter any a story.
After the disastrous attempts I mentioned above, I sat down to think about what it is journalists must be looking for when reading a press release. First and foremost reporters are storytellers, and that’s what their constantly looking for, good stories to sell their products.
See your products in the media
While I thought about the types of stories I could offer reporters it occurred to me that most magazine targeting my ideal customers (women) featured gift guides for mother’s day, grad presents, Christmas and more.
I flipped through my favorite magazines and websites to come up with a list of publications that I wanted to feature my shirts. My parameters were that the publication had to be read by my target market, publish holiday gift guides and commonly feature products like mine. I collected the names of the journalists and editors in charge of the guides and created my own media list.
I wrote a pitch about my product being a gift that gives back, as I planted a tree for every shirt I sold. Nearly dozens replied! My shirts were featured in several high profile magazines and my efforts added $20,000 in revenue to my holiday season.
Steps to get press for your products
1) List the TV shows, blogs, online and print magazines you want to contact. Don’t be afraid to dream big, but also don’t overlook trade publications geared toward storeowners.
2) Track the topics each publication covers so you can aim your pitch at its audience. Most publication run past months’ content online. You can also flip through physical magazines at your local Barns and Noble.
3) Find each publication’s editorial calendar, which lists the topics will be covered in each issue and its publishing deadlines. The best way to do this is to Google the “publication’s name + editorial calendar”. In addition to topics and deadlines, many will offer contact information for specific editors. These offer you better contacts than info addresses.
4) Edit your pitch to suit the publication. Mention specifically why your product is a good fit.
5) Email your story ideas to the addresses from step 3. Keep in mind most magazines nail down their coverage 4-6 months in advance. Add reminders to your calendar for holidays and guides that appeal to you so you won’t miss out.
This method of getting the press your products deserve is wonderfully free. Even better, it really works. If you just follow the five steps above, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to accomplish by the 2013 holiday season.
Picture Credit: RobotSkirts