A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Press Coverage

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This quick and easy guide will outline the blueprint for getting press for your small business. Getting press is more difficult than it may seem, but it is definitely doable the matter how small your business or how low your budget. The most expensive way to go is to hire a person or a firm who specializes in PR. But this document does not cover hiring or selecting those types of companies. This guide will provide you with a step-by-step action plan to get just about any type of press coverage you want, but the key is to take the below ideas and template and make them your own.

Press coverage

You’re frustrated, I get it…

The main reason why you may be frustrated now is because you’ve looked at other blogs and are questioning if their tactics may work. Those blogs may have provided the exact e-mail template that you should reach out to the press with. The problem is tens of thousands of people, if not more, have already stolen those exact templates discussed in those blogs, and probably have reached out to the same exact people you will be reaching out to. So, if you use those same templates, your fish will hardly seem unique at all.
How to use this guide

If you take nothing away from this guide, take away this, you have to make your pitch to the press unique. We will provide you with templates, but you have to alter them to suit your needs.

In this guide, you will learn:
• How to identify contacts of the press you want to reach out to
• How to get their e-mail addresses
• The most effective ways to reach out to the press
• How to test which emails are getting the best responses
• And what to do when you get a response

Now, let’s get started.

How to identify contacts of the press you want to reach out to…

There are no less than two dozen different ways that are effective and almost free to identify the press you want to reach out to. But for the sake of simplicity, and providing a clear and easy path, we’re going to outline one way here.

First, you have to identify the journalists you want to reach out to. This can be done with a simple Google search. You can go to your competitor’s site and see what kind of press they got, or simply go to Google.com/news and start typing in some industries related terms. Click on the search results that are relevant, and note that journalists and publications that published the articles. This can be done on a simple Excel spreadsheet.: Column A should be the first name, column B should the last name column, column C should be the publication they write for, and any other information you would want to note should be in the columns after that. You will understand why we set up a spreadsheet like this in the next section.

How to get their e-mail addresses

Getting a journalist’s e-mail address is oftentimes easier said than done. Many times it’s easier to reach out to them on social media sites like Linked, Twitter or Facebook. But if you insist on emailing them, there are some tools that can help you. Let’s take that spreadsheet and created in the previous section and head on over to LinkedIn. Using Google Chrome, install a plug-in called Aeroleads. Head on over to Aeroleads.com and create an account, there is a small fee, but it is well worth it and will save you tons of time.

Once you have an account and the plug-in is installed, simply bring up the LinkedIn URLs of each journalist you have on your spreadsheet, one by one, and add them to the plug-in. At the risk of giving you step-by-step instructions, once you have a plug-in installed it is super easy to understand how to do this. Once all of the journalists have been added, go too Aero Leads, and check your account, Aero Leads will search for the email address of those journalists using various methods. If their e-mail address is online, Aero leads will find it. For those journalists which Aeroleads could not find the email addresses for, your best bet is to reach out to them on LinkedIn or Twitter.

The most effective ways to reach out to the press

If you have done any research on getting the attention of journalists, you would have found dozens of blogs that provide sample email templates with these long drawn out e-mails you should write to journalists. This is not the way you want reach out to press. The most effective way to get a journalist to notice your company and to respond to your email is to make the pitch as short as possible. Good publications, the ones that are worth your time, hatch journalistic get hundreds of pages a day. Don’t waste their time by writing an email that is any longer than three sentences.

Here is your first exercise: Describe your company in one sentence. This most likely will be the value proposition. Make sure your value proposition is perfect, if you have any doubts at all, head on over to Crowdsourcia.com and have the expert round table and improve your value proposition.

Your value proposition should be the second sentence in your email pitch. The first sentence should simply be an introduction of who you are and your company name. Always personalize your email. So far we have the following:

—–
Hi [journalists name],

My name is [your name], [your position] of [company name].

[your value proposition]
—–

That’s it, don’t get any more fancy than that. All you’re trying to do at this point has garner interest, if the journalists is interested, they will write back, and you can write a longer email reply.

To close out this initial e-mail, your last sentence should give them an action to take. Make this an absolute no brainer. Something like the following:

—–

Simply reply with a yes for more info. Keeping this email as short as possible because I respect your time.

—–

Understand the psychology of the above sentence, you’re giving them a simple request to reply with a yes for more information. The last sentence shows them how much you respect their time because you appreciate how busy they are. I can’t tell you how many journalists have responded with accolades for this short and to the point pitch.

The last part of your pitch should simply be your signature. Include a link to your website and your signature.

What about the subject line?

Ah yes, the all important subject line. There’s so much controversy as to what the subject line should say. If you ask ten experts you’ll get 20 different answers. However, the best answer is what you should not do. Do not do the following:

• Do not put Re: in the subject line indicating falsely that there was a previous conversation or reply to your email. This automatically makes the journalists skeptical to you as a person, and I guarantee you the conversation will go far.
• Do not put in long playful subject line and expected not to go in the spam folder. These journalists get that all the time, and they don’t have time for that.
• Do not put the journalists name in the subject line, which just screams spam.

To be honest, I’ve used dozens of different subject lines, all of which were straight to the point and descriptive of what I wanted from the journalists, and none of them tested any better or worse, statistically than the others. The key here is just to be truthful. The subject line should indicate what you want. Something as simple as “possible coverage for ” works just fine.

How to test which emails are getting the best responses

How do you know if the email you are sending will get more responses than a similar email? The answer is testing the variances. The problem is, most people don’t know how to test properly, so when the results come in, they are analyzing false data. The proper way to do an A/B test is to test only one difference. Meaning if you want to test two different emails, you only change one sentence and then test the response rate between the two emails. By changing any more than just one aspect of the email, you don’t know if the difference between the results are a result of one of those changes or more than one of those changes. For example, you might want to just test a variance of your value proposition by altering your sentence slightly. This would be a viable A/B test. Another option is to test one subject line verses another.

Once you understand what you’re going to test, you can now send the emails. Do not send them in a mass email program like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. That will get you absolutely nowhere. You want to send them one by one with your email that has a work extension. Not a free service like Gmail or Yahoo. Using a free service to send emails to journalists screams amateur and your response rate will be zero, or very close to zero.


What to do when you get a response

Your response to any journalists who are interested should always include a press kit as an attachment, and also always include the link to an explainer video that sums up your company in 2 minutes or less. Put together a rough draft of a press kit and script for an explainer video and get it perfected at Crowdsourcia.com.

When you get a response, your first instinct is to just throw everything and the kitchen sink at the journalist. This is not the time for that. Other than the press kit and a link to an explainer video, your response should just be a few sentences that gives the journalist some idea of what they can write about. Tell them about any timely events in the industry, a current hot topic, something interesting that has recently happened in your industry that you can comment about as an expert. The key to this email is to simply make it as easy as possible for them to know what they should be writing about. It’s always a good idea to talk about any traction your company has had in terms of traffic or interest.

In Conclusion

I can say without a doubt, that if you follow the above steps, you will definitely get press. Don’t underestimate the importance of your value proposition, and don’t treat every journalist the same. Your reply rate will be very low. Each journalist is unique, has their own interests in what they like to write about, and you have to understand that before you reach out to them. There’s no cookie cutter template for getting great press coverage. It takes a little bit of time and a little bit of work, but the results can be fantastic. Best of luck.

Michael Volkin
Mr. Volkin is a serial entrepreneur and marketing expert with over 20 years of experience. In addition to writing 5 books (one best-seller) and building and selling 3 companies of his own; Mr. Volkin has a tremendous track record of driving growth and brand awareness through the development and implementation of strategic, cross-channel digital marketing programs. His passion for marketing in both B2B and B2C industries has helped dozens of start-ups and mid-market leaders alike spur growth and drive new revenue. Mr. Volkin is currently the owner of 800lb Marketing, a fractional CMO company.

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