Getting press coverage for yourself as well as your business is really useful. It can help establish yourself as an expert in your field, keep you front of people’s minds and drive sales to your business. It’s not always about having your business mentioned, it’s also about showcasing yourself as a person and building relationships with journalists. Once a journalist knows about you and knows you are reliable, they are much more likely to contact you if they are writing a piece about a topic you care about.
Where can you find press opportunities?
Here are some tips on how you can get press coverage without spending big via a PR company. Personally, I’ve found the most useful place to find press opportunities and network with journalists to be a Facebook group called Lightbulb.
This group is almost free at £5.99 a month and it’s a PR free zone where you get to connect directly with journalists, respond to their press requests and pitch ideas directly to them. There are also lots of tips in the ‘Guides’ section on the group.
Another place to find press requests and see what journalists are writing about is on Twitter. Follow journalists, respond to their tweets and look out for #journorequests. There is a limit to what you will find on Twitter though, as editors aren’t very keen on journalists posting requests publicly because it can act as a spoiler.
It can also be a good idea to contact local press with a story or a targeted press release. Don’t send generic press releases out though. Journalists receive hundreds of them a day.
Tips on how to communicate with journalists
When you’re communicating with a journalist, it’s important to be brief in your initial contact. So if you’re emailing them in response to a press requests, tell them who you are, why you fit their brief, your age, your location and how to contact you. Once you’ve written the important stuff, you can include bullet points on other topics you can talk about. The reason is because journalists are often on a tight deadline and will also often be given briefs with a specific age range or geographic area in mind.
Also don’t share a journalist’s contact details unless you have their permission.
You also need good high resolution images to send them. If you’re planning for a photoshoot, pictures to include are portrait photographs (including a landscape format picture), behind-the-scenes photos that tell your story and product images (including some white background cut-outs) if applicable.
What do journalists talk about?
Journalists tell stories. So if you have a compelling human interest story about how you started your business, that’s great. For example, I’ve spoken about how I went from sleeping 18 hours a day and collapsing 30+ times a day due to narcolepsy to becoming a jewellery designer and goldsmith to a number of journalists. Journalists are also interested in expert comment for events that happen in the public eye. For example, I have commented on famous people’s engagement rings and why they are or aren’t suitable for everyday wear as well as how their rings are likely to shape trends.
When responding to press requests, it’s important to stick to your values though. For example I saw many press requests for Black Friday offers. However, this goes against my value as it encourages over-consumption, rather than mindful purchasing. So I held off from taking part. Then I saw a press request for ‘anti Black Friday’ related things. So I decided to focus on cleaning, repairing and repurposing jewellery on my social media and website. This was then something the journalist could talk about in their Guardian article. My website traffic increased 3500% that day, I received 3 substantial restoration jobs as a result and two of those clients want to come back for bespoke jewellery in the future.
Make the most of your press coverage
By sharing your press wins with your audience online, you can really build trust and persuade people who might be on the fence about your product or service. It enhances credibility and positions you as the expert. One of my clients actually said to me “I assumed you would be good because you were in The Guardian”.
I was on ITV news talking about the price of used cars last year as I had just bought one so I volunteered as a case study. I shared images on social media and a number of scrollers assumed I had been on TV talking about my jewellery business. I hadn’t even mentioned it. On the flip side, Katherine Jenkins wore my earrings to Piers Morgan’s Christmas party a couple of years ago. I was exhausted from making Christmas pieces and it was so close to the festive season that I barely told anyone until later. By then the moment passed. So what could have been a massive moment for me as a designer, it felt like not much happened. I should have at least contacted local press about it, but I didn’t.
Getting press coverage doesn’t always happen overnight. Pitching to journalists takes practice and patience.
If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me via social media or my website.