press officers

How Twitter helped this business owner get featured in Stylist magazine

In this interview, psychotherapist Samantha Carbon shares how she got coverage in Stylist magazine and other national titles - without writing a single press release or hiring a PR company. 

Here's what you'll learn in this video:

  • How Sam has used Twitter to get high-profile media coverage in publications like Stylist, Glamour, Country Living, the Daily Express, Daily Mail and Huffington Post
  • Why Sam believes her website has helped her get more media coverage
  • Sam's tips on building relationships with journalists (and responding to media requests)
  • How being featured in high-profile publications has helped Sam get noticed by TV/radio producers - and be invited to write a regular column for a best-selling women's magazine

 

How to get PR for your product launch

Getting coverage in newspapers, magazines and on radio & TV, can be a great way to promote your new book, product or service. But what’s the best way to contact journalists with ideas? Should you send a pitch or a press release (or both?) and how far ahead of your launch should you get in touch? 

If you’re serious about about getting media coverage, you need to start your PR campaign weeks - if not months - before your launch. Monthly magazines can work 3-6 months ahead, weeklies 5-6 weeks ahead and some radio/TV programmes are made as much as a year ahead. So, if in doubt, always pitch earlier than you think you need to. It’s far better to have a journalist come back and say ‘this is interesting, but can you try me again in a couple of weeks’ than miss out completely.

The other thing to bear in mind is that sending a press release to a bunch of journalists is both the most common - and least effective - way to get press coverage around a launch. Essentially, it's like throwing a pack of playing cards up in the air and hoping they land where you want them to. Some might, but most won't. And do you really want to leave your PR to chance? 

To give yourself the best possible odds of getting press coverage, you need to take a much more strategic approach. So here’s five things you can  do to to generate press coverage for your next launch. 

1.Invite journalists to review your product/service

Sending out a press release  (or even just an email) to journalists inviting them to review your product or service - along with a sample - is one strategy you can use to get media coverage.

Sadly it's often the least effective and here’s why.

Journalists get sent tons of press releases - along with samples and review copies - every single day of the week. During a brief stint at a parenting magazine, I couldn’t believe the amount of stuff that was sent to the office each day: books, beauty products, pushchairs, car seats...the office was teeming with the stuff. At another publication I worked on, review copies of books were used to prop up wonky table legs and beauty samples often ended up in the staff loo. The Guardian holds ‘swag sales’, where free stuff is gathered up and sold to raise money for charity. So it doesn't matter how amazing your product is, there are no guarantees it will hit the right person's desk at the right time. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that many publications and programmes plan weeks or months ahead, which means your product can be 'old news' before it even arrives in the office (and journalists hate 'old news'). At a recent event I held in London, the features editor of Psychologies magazine explained that editorial themes were decided months in advance (which is typical of women's glossy magazines). So it doesn't matter how brilliant your new handbags are, if your target publication isn't 'doing' handbags over the next few months, you're not going to get a look in. 

This doesn't mean you shouldn't try to secure product reviews - you absolutely should - but do be aware that it's a scattergun approach, so it's a numbers game. And this is probably the only time you'll ever hear me say something like this... but when it comes to product reviews, the more publications and programmes you can approach, the better.

Do your research first though; some publications don't do product reviews, so sending a pitch or press release can be a complete waste of your time. And don't discount bloggers; getting reviews on popular blogs in your area of expertise may actually be more effective than traditional media coverage. 

While sending a press release can work well for a product launch, do ‘top’ it with a short, tailored email pitch. Not all publications and programmes approach reviews in the same way; some prefer to get their own journalists to ‘road test’ products and write about them, others might have a list of set questions or themes, others might want you to submit some copy. The more you can show that you’ve looked at the publication/programme and thought about how you can help create content that's a good fit, the better chance you’ll have of getting a ‘yes’.

Do be aware that unless your product or service is really unusual or 'disruptive' (e.g. the taxi-hailing service Uber or a novel like 50 Shades of Grey), journalists probably won't be interested in writing a news story on it. But there's plenty of other kinds of media coverage you can go for.

If your target publication isn't 'doing' handbags over the next few months...you won't get a look in
If your target publication isn't 'doing' handbags over the next few months...you won't get a look in

2.Share something interesting

People love personal stories, so instead of pitching journalists about your product, look at the areas of of your life that intersect with your business for inspiration. This is a technique commonly used by authors.  For example, when chick lit author Adele Parks publishes a new novel, you often see a first person article (otherwise known as a 'confessional') in the press - usually on a topic that relates to the theme of her book e.g. being 'divorced' by a friend or being proposed to nine times. At the end of the article there's a big juicy mention of her book and where to buy it.  

3.Teach something  

There's a growing appetite for content that teaches people a concept or skill (otherwise known as 'how to'). For example, Colin was looking for a way to promote his podcasting training and consultancy business. Instead of trying to get journalists to write about his business, I encouraged him to pitch an article to the Guardian's Small Business Network about how starting a podcast can help entrepreneurs promote their business. Bingo.  

Gwen wanted to promote her children's sleep app (which is designed to help kids with their bedtime routine). Instead of trying to get journalists to write about her app, I encouraged her to pitch articles on how small businesses can develop apps (and whether it was worth the investment). She was also successful.

Melanie is a relocation consultant based in Denmark. This Huffington Post article on how to bring Danish hygge into your home (wherever you happen to be in the world) is a great way to show what she knows and promote her business. 

Do bear in mind that you don't necessarily have to be teach something: it could simply be sharing the lessons you've learned from a particular experience (e.g. starting your own business or losing 20 pounds). The key thing is that the audience can (a) relate to your experience (b) take away some actionable points.  

Sharing a personal story can help you get PR for your product launch
Sharing a personal story can help you get PR for your product launch

4.Say something interesting

Pitching opinion articles can be a clever way to get media coverage for your product. Let's say you've written a book on failings in the education system, for example. Pitching an opinion article on something related to the topic of the book can be a great way to get a 'plug' for your product.  

Nathalie - an app developer - successfully pitched an article to a national newspaper arguing that it's easy for women to get on in the tech industry (which is exactly the opposite of what you usually hear on the subject). In it she talks about her own experience - providing an effective (but subtle) opportunity to plug her own app. 

5. Do something interesting

Sadly a launch alone isn't always enough to get journalists interested in covering your new product/service. Holding an unusual event to mark your launch can be a clever way round this problem. Think silent disco or tropical ice-skating (OTT but hopefully you get the picture).  You could even do a survey or commission some research on a topic that relates to your new product or service - like this research on parents taking their children out of school in term time using a tool like Google Consumer Surveys for as little as $100 (thanks to Danny Lynch for that tip).

The key thing to remember is that while journalists (particular on the nationals) may not be interested in writing or broadcasting about your new book, product or service, there are plenty of creative ways to get it mentioned in the media.  So you'll still get your desired outcome - you just need to take a different route. 

Need help writing a press release for your product launch? Sign up for my FREE press release writing course here.

[058] Why you need a business crush

You love their look, everything they say, do and - if they're in town - then so are you. 

You're totally smitten and you don't care who about knows it.

In this episode, I explore why you need to have business crushes (and reveal a few of my own)

Here’s what I cover in this episode:

  • Why having a crush can be good for your business
  • What you can learn from your business crush
  • How to avoid copycatting when you admire someone's business

Key resources and links

Why you need to build a personal brand with Chris Ducker (episode 19).

Make journalists fall in love with you with Phil Pallen (episode 5)

How to turn your blog into a business with Natalie Lue (episode 49)

How to get people to say 'yes' to you with Matthew Kimberley (episode 57)

How to use Facebook groups to promote your business with Jill Stanton (episode 33)

How to use guest content to grow your audience

How to tell your story in the media (without being boring) 

Soulful PR Live - spend a day with me & eight national journalists in London on July 7

The Soulful PR Business Club

The Soulful PR Facebook Community 

What to do next

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page.

I’d also love it if you could take a few minutes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on itunes. I read every one personally and may even read yours out on the show.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.

[056] Should you pitch the same idea to different journalists?

One of the most common questions I get asked about PR is: 'should you pitch the same idea to different journalists?' The rather unsatisfactory answer is 'it depends'.

In this episode, I share practical tips and advice that will help you decide when it's ok to send your idea to multiple journalists and when you need to keep things exclusive.

Here’s what I cover in this episode:

  • In what circumstances it's acceptable to send the same story idea to different journalists (and when you definitely shouldn't)
  • How long you should wait to hear back from a particular publication/programme before you try elsewhere
  • Why you should be wary of sending the same story to different journalists on the same publications/programmes

Key resources and links

How to use guest content to grow your audience

How to tell your story in the media (without being boring) 

Soulful PR Live - spend a day with me & eight national journalists in London on July 7

The Soulful PR Business Club

The Soulful PR Facebook Community 

What to do next

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page.

I’d also love it if you could take a few minutes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on itunes. I read every one personally and may even read yours out on the show.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.

[053] Why most people are horrible at telling stories with Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman is probably best known for founding Help A Reporter Out (HARO) - which connects journalists with people who want to be featured in the media. 

Today he's a speaker, consultant and bestselling author who regularly appears in the national and international media, including Fox News, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

In this episode, Peter explains where most people go wrong with telling their story in the media - and how to do it better.

Here’s what's covered in this episode:

  • How Peter created Help A Reporter Out and had a quarter of a million users within months
  • Why Peter believes listening is the key to selling your story in the media (and how to do it better)
  • How skimping on the basics - like researching the publications/programmes you're pitching to - can stop you getting media coverage
  • Why 'trend' stories are so compelling to journalists (and how to create 'trend' stories around your business or brand)
  • Practical tips on how to network with journalists on social media and get more appearances on radio & TV

Key links and resources

Peter's website 

Shankminds (Peter's mastermind group)

Faster Than Normal (Peter's site  about living with ADD/ADHD)

Peter on Twitter 

Can we do that? Outrageous PR stunts that work - and why your company needs them (Peter's book)

Help A Reporter Out 

Journolink

Soulful PR Live 

The Soulful PR Business Club 

New Media Europe 2016 (I'm speaking on how to get big media coverage on a small business budget)

My FREE Soulful PR Facebook Community

What to do next

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page.

I’d also love it if you could take a few minutes to  leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on itunes. I read every one personally and may even read yours out on the show.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.

[031] How to build & promote a profitable online business with Mariah Coz

Building a business you can run from anywhere in the world - one that makes you money even while you sleep - is a dream for many aspiring entrepreneurs.

But how do you go about building a profitable online business? How do you create products and services people are itching to buy? And what are the best ways to promote them? 

In this episode, serial entrepreneur Mariah Coz shares the strategies she used to build a $100k a month blog in less than a year...

Here’s what's covered in this episode:

  • Mariah’s entrepreneurial journey - from selling vintage clothes to online training
  • The strategies Mariah used to build a $100k a month blog in less than 12 months - including webinars, email marketing and content upgrades
  • Why Mariah admits to being ‘terrible’ at social media (but why it hasn’t hurt her business)
  • A killer guest post strategy you may not have thought of (I hadn’t!)
  • Common pitching mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Key resources and links

Mariah’s website  and her online course

Mariah on Twitter

Mariah's free download:  8 must-have tools to create, sell and market your products 

Mariah’s 2015 business review: the nitty gritty of how she built that $100k a month blog...in less than a year

How to guest blog like a boss (Mariah’s secret guest posting strategy)  

How to write an effective press release (my article in the Guardian)

Infusionsoft & Convertkit (email marketing software)

App Sumo - the software I used to create a Welcome mat on my website

Soulful PR for Starters (my self-study PR programme)

What to do next

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page.

I’d also love it if you could take a few minutes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on itunes. I read every one personally and may even read yours out on the show.
And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.