press release

How to use media enquiry services like #journorequest to get press coverage

If you want to get high-profile press coverage for your business - without pitching journalists or writing press releases - media enquiry services like #journorequest, Response Source,  and Help A Reporter Out can be a brilliant resource. These services put journalists who are looking for people to talk to in touch with people who want to be featured in the media. Most are free and/or offer a free trial, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

But how do you find opportunities that are suitable for you and your business? And what’s the best way to respond to journalists’ requests? Here’s the nine most common questions I get asked about media enquiry services (along with my answers) which should give you everything you need to know to get started.

1. What are media enquiry services and how do they work?

Media enquiry services put journalists who are looking for people to talk to, in touch with people who want to be featured in media.

Sign up for media enquiry services like Response Source, Gorkana,  Journolink, Ask Charity, Help A Reporter Out  or Sourcebottle and you’ll get regular email updates from journalists who are looking for experts and case studies to feature in their work.  Some are free and some offer free trials, so you can start building your media contact database immediately.

If you’re in the UK, I’d recommend starting with Response Source. If you’re in the US or elsewhere in the world, I’d start with Help A Reporter Out or Sourcebottle.

If you have a product based business you might also consider a service like Pressloft or Ace Media. These allow you to upload images of your products, along with searchable ‘tags’ that describe your product. So, for example, if a journalist is searching for rose gold gift ideas for a feature they’re working on - and you make rose gold necklaces - your products should appear in their search.

#Journorequest is a hashtag  journalists and bloggers use to post requests for help with specific articles or programmes. Most #journorequests are submitted by UK journalists and bloggers, but there are some international requests, so  it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out.

2. How should I respond to media requests?

If you spot a request you think you can help with, simply tweet/email the journalist back with the information they have asked for.  A journalist will quickly be able to decide if you’re the right person to help with the story so - unless they ask for more - a sentence or two is fine. The example below is the perfect response - short, to-the-point and offering everything the journalist needs to decide whether she's a good fit for the story. 

3. What if I don’t spot any media requests  that are relevant to my business?

When I tell some business owners about resources like #journorequest, they take a look then say ‘I can’t find anything that’s relevant to my business.’

This is pretty short-sighted. You wouldn’t expect your business to explode after sending one tweet or creating one Instagram post. So why would you expect to strike gold the first time you use a  media enquiry service?

If you’re serious about using this as a way to get press coverage, you need to think long-term. Which means checking in daily, over a series of months and/or years. 

You also need to be realistic. Journalists aren’t in the business of writing articles or making programmes that promote small businesses (if you want that kind of coverage, you have to pay for it). What they’re generally looking for is experts (people who can give their views on a topic from their experience) or case studies (people who have relevant experiences to share).

Take this example from Sarah Connelly, who owns a lingerie shop in Edinburgh. While  journalists would be unlikely to write a story about the fact her shop exists, they were interested in her expert view as to whether underwired bras are going out of fashion - which was still a great plug for her business.

Sarah Connelly in the Daily Mail

This example from Sally Bunkham - who creates and sells luxury gift hampers for new mums - shows how sharing personal experiences can be a great way to get press coverage for your business (she picked up this request from #journorequest).

Sally Bunkham in The Sun

If you’re prepared to use your imagination, you can ‘bend’ most requests to allow you to mention your business, as in this example by personal stylist LouLou Storey

Even if you can’t see a way to ‘bend’ the request to get a mention for your business, it can be worth helping out anyway (either yourself or by recommending a friend/colleague). Remember this is a long-term game;  doing a journalist a favour - even when there’s nothing in it for you - means that when you do have a relevant story to pitch, they’re far more likely to read your email or take your call.

And don’t forget that people like to do business with people. Getting media coverage for topics that don’t have anything to do with your business can still be great for building your profile. Writing articles and being quoted in the press about the topic of miscarriage (something I have personal experience of) has not only helped me build my profile, it’s also brought me clients.

4. What if I have a product based business?

If you have a product-based business you may think that being featured in product round-ups is the only way to get press coverage. But as the examples above show, positioning yourself as an expert in your industry and/or sharing your personal story is a great way to get press coverage for your business.

5. What if I respond to a journalist and don’t hear back?

Don’t take it personally. Not hearing back does not mean there was anything ‘wrong’ with your response. It may simply be that the journalist received hundreds of responses and didn’t have time/space to feature all of them. It could also be that some of the responses they received were a better fit for that particular story than yours.

It’s fine to chase (just forward your original email with a polite ‘just wondering if you’d had a chance to consider this?’) but if you haven’t heard after one or two follow-ups it’s probably safe to assume they’re not interested. That doesn’t mean they won’t be interested on another occasion, so just put it behind you and move onto the next request.

6. What if a journalist says they’re going to include my story and then I get dropped?

Because of the nature of the media (the news agenda moves at an incredible pace) this happens all the time. So don’t take it personally and, whatever you do, don’t get stroppy with the journalist involved. You may need that relationship in the future.

7. What should I do if I’m promised a mention of my business and it doesn’t happen?

This is annoying - particularly if you’ve been promised a mention and/or link. But it’s not worth losing your cool over. If it happens to you, simply send a polite email to the journalist saying you loved the article/programme but were disappointed not to get a mention and ask if there is anything they can do. Most journalists will be willing to help, but remember that a link/mention isn’t your ‘right’ - this will only be included if the editor thinks it’s  relevant. Remember also that even if you don’t get that link you were hoping for, if it’s a good piece of content, people will still search and find you online (which is why it’s important to have a website and/or be active on social media).

8. What should I do after I’ve been featured in the press?

Building relationships with the media is a long-term game, so when you’ve been featured in the press, don’t forget to thank the journalist (I’d suggest a tweet and an email) and let them know you’re available to help with future stories. This is also the best time to pitch an idea of your own as you’ll still be fresh in their mind.

You might want to check out this blog: How to write an email pitch for a journalist.

Don’t be offended if you don’t hear anything back. Most journalists get hundreds of emails every day, which means answering only those messages that are immediately relevant can be the only way to stay sane (believe me,  after 18 years in the trade, I know!). Which means they may well have read your message and ‘clocked’ your name for future reference.

9. How do I leverage my press coverage?

If you’ve been featured in the press - particularly in a high-profile media outlet - you may think journalists on similar publications/programmes will be interested in featuring your story. In reality, the opposite is often true.

Journalists love exclusives, so if you’ve just been featured in Marie Claire magazine, it’s unlikely Red (which has a similar audience) would want to run the same story. There are exceptions (for example, a national publication might pick up on a story that’s been featured in the local press) but let your common sense guide you and you shouldn’t go far wrong.

If you want to be featured in the likes of The GuardianHuffington Post or Psychologies Magazine why not join my FREE 10-day PR Challenge? You can sign up here.

 

[229] How to get big press coverage on a small business budget with Sally Bunkham

In this episode, Sally Bunkham - founder of Mumsback, which provides luxury gift hampers for new mums -  explains how she’s secured high-profile press coverage - in just ten months of being in business.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Sally’s business story  - how getting pregnant two months after her first baby was born inspired her to start her business (2:09)
  • How Sally pitched and partnered with online gift site Not On The High Street (3:55)
  • Sally’s tips on getting accepted by a site like Not On The High Street (5:10)
  • How Sally has created a profitable business in just 10 months (6:41)
  • The impact of press coverage on Sally’s business success (7:16)
  • Why Sally believes building relationships with journalists (and other influencers) is a long term game (12:22)
  • Why Sally thinks it’s good to start with local press coverage (15:25)
  • The importance of a great subject header in an email pitch (16:18)
  • How Sally’s decision to give some of her profits to charity has helped her gain press coverage  (19:20)
  • The snowball effect: how one piece of press coverage can lead to another (21:36)
  • Free resources that can help you get press coverage (20:00)
  • What it’s really like to be a journalist - and how understanding this can help you get press (25:00)
  • The impact of press coverage on Sally’s business (26:40)
  • Why most people need 7 or 8 touchpoints with you before they buy - and what this has to do with PR (27:50)
  • Why Sally believes you have to look beyond traditional PR when promoting your business (30:00)
  • What kind of content you should be publishing on your website to attract traffic (31:00)
  • Why you shouldn’t build your audience on social media  (34:40)
  • Tips on where to get started if you need more clients (34:06)

Key resources

Sally’s website: Mumsback

Sally on Twitter and Instagram

Pre-registration for my online PR course Soulful PR for Starters

My 10 day FREE PR challenge

My blog post on how to land high-profile speaking opportunities

My YouTube channel

My video on how to write a press release

My video on how to write an email pitch for journalists

My blog post on how to write an effective press release for your small business

My article for the Guardian on what you should say to a friend who’s had a miscarriage

Episode 228: How to land your first TEDx talk with Helen Packham

Helen Packham’s article in the Independent: The three secrets which can make you good at public speaking

Episode 131: How to use media enquiry services

Episode 185: How to use LinkedIn to grow your business with Mark Williams

Register your interest in my course to create - and launch - your own planner

Order the 2018 media diary or join the media diary owners’ club

The Soulful PR Studio

A PDF guide to navigating the podcast episodes

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Soulful PR Facebook Community: tips & advice for promoting your business

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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.

[226] How to find journalists' contact details

If you want to secure media coverage for your business in newspapers, magazines, websites and on radio and TV, finding out exactly the right person to get your idea in front of - the person who can make a decision about whether to run your story - is vital.

In this episode, I share my tips on finding journalists’ contact details for your pitches and press releases.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Why Twitter is the best social media platform to look for journalists (4:25)
  • How you should start with finding out the name of the person who looks after the section you want your business to appear in (4:40)
  • My step-by-step guide to finding specific contacts on Twitter (4:56)
  • Why it’s often simplest - and more useful - to phone up and get journalists’ contact details (5:25)

Key resources

My YouTube channel

My video on how to write a press release

My video on how to write an email pitch for journalists

My blog post on how to write an effective press release for your small business

Register your interest in my course to create - and launch - your own planner

Order the 2018 media diary or join the media diary owners’ club

The Soulful PR Studio

Video of Soulful PR Live

Soulful PR for Starters

A PDF guide to navigating the podcast episodes

The new speaking page on my website

Soulful PR Podcast Community on Facebook: chat about the show with Janet and other listeners

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Soulful PR Facebook Community: tips & advice for promoting your business

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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.

 

[222] How to write a press release for your small business

If you want to get coverage in newspapers, magazines and on radio and TV, it’s a good idea to know how to put together a compelling press release.

In this episode, I share my tips on the key ingredients of a press release, including how to write one and who you should be sending it to.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • When you should send a press release (2:56)
  • Key pointers on how to put a great press release together (4:14)
  • How to craft a great opening line for your press release (5:35)
  • How to make use of quotations in your press release (7:28)
  • What to put in the ‘notes to editor’ section (8:34)
  • Whether you should include photos (8:43)
  • Who you should send the press release to - and why you should avoid generic addresses (9:05)
  • What to do if you don’t get a response (9:35)

Key resources

My YouTube channel

My video on how to write a press release

My blog post on how to write an effective press release for your small business

Register your interest in my course to create - and launch - your own planner

Order the 2018 media diary or join the media diary owners’ club

The Soulful PR Studio

Video of Soulful PR Live

Soulful PR for Starters

A PDF guide to navigating the podcast episodes

The new speaking page on my website

Soulful PR Podcast Community on Facebook: chat about the show with Janet and other listeners

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Soulful PR Facebook Community: tips & advice for promoting your business

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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.

 

Eight common concerns about attending Your Year In PR

Thinking about attending Your Year in PR but can’t make up your mind? I get it.

It’s perfectly natural to worry about whether you’re making the right decision to attend a conference or workshop.

It’s not just about the ticket price. On top of the cost of your ticket, you may also need to budget for travel, accommodation, food - and time spent away from your business. So you need to be sure you’ll get a return on your investment.

With that in mind, here are some of the most common concerns small business owners raise about attending Your Year in PR - and the advice I offer.

If you’re not familiar with the event, Your Year in PR is a media planning masterclass. It’s your chance to dedicate a day planning out the content for your blog/vlog (if you have one), social media, email marketing and press activities for the whole of 2018. You’ll learn strategies you can use to generate ideas, re-purpose content and schedule well ahead of time - so you’ll never be stuck for ideas again. If you want to create content that attracts more likes, comments and shares, you can stay on for a second day of training that focuses on creating shareable content that will help you make more sales in your business

Concern 1: ‘I can’t afford it ’

Some prospective delegates tell me they love the idea of the event - and would attend if they could - but can’t afford it.

My advice

If this sounds like you, the first thing you need to do is change your mindset. Instead of saying ‘I can’t afford it’ ask yourself ‘‘what could I do to make it affordable?’

If you’re reading this post, you’re an entrepreneurial sort. So if you really want to attend an event, I believe you’ve got what it takes to figure out how to get yourself there. Here’s a list of ten things you can try to raise the money to attend a live event.

Try them and let me know how you get on.

Concern 2: ‘I can’t afford to take time away from my business’

Some prospective delegates tell me they love the idea of the event - and think it could be really beneficial - but can’t spare the time away from their business. This is particularly common in product-based business owners, who are often at their busiest in the run up to Christmas.

My advice

Are you really so busy that you can’t spare a day to invest in the long-term health of your business?  Could you put in a few extra hours on a weekend or in the evenings to make up the time - or outsource some tasks that would free you up to attend?

It’s great to be busy, but if you’re firefighting at the expense of promoting your business, in a few months time, you may find you’re short on clients.

When you run a seasonal business, it’s easy to tell yourself that quieter periods are the norm - but it doesn’t have to be the way. Taking time out for some strategic PR planning could help ensure you’re busy all year round - not just at Christmas.

Concern 3: ‘I’m afraid I won’t have time to implement what I learn’

A common concern I hear from owners of prospective delegates is that they won’t get time to implement everything they’ve learned.

My advice

Taking some time out of your normal routine is bound to leave you buzzing with ideas. But once you’re back at your desk, there’s a risk you’ll get bogged down in the day-to-day running of your business and not put into practice what you’ve learned.

Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by blocking out a few hours (ideally in the week or so after the event ) to reflect on what you’ve learned and make a plan to put it into action.

If you come along to Your Year in PR, you’ll also be invited to take part in a live follow-up call with me in January 2018, which will give you accountability and a chance to ask questions about what you’ve learned.  

Concern 4: ‘I sell products rather than offer a service.’

Some prospective delegates tell me they don’t think the event is right for them because they run a product-based business.

My advice

If you’re selling products online, you need to be publishing regular content - ideally on a blog/vlog, on social media and via email - so you can build relationships with prospective customers and attract them to your website (or wherever you’re selling your products). Creating a content schedule - so you know what you’re going to publish, when and where - will keep you consistent, accountable and ensure you never run out of ideas. It will also save you tons of time.

Concern 5: ‘It’s not the right time for me’

Something I hear a lot from prospective delegates is: ‘I love the idea of this event but I don’t think it’s the right time for me. I’m too busy working on my website/I’m building up my client base/I’m not ready to be the face of my business.’

My advice:

A bit of tough love: if you’re selling your products/services online you need to be publishing regular content - ideally on a blog/vlog, on social media and via email - so you can have conversations with prospective customers and attract them to your website. So if now’s not the right time to focus on your content strategy - and make sure this actually happens in 2018 - when will be?

If you’re too busy working in your business to take time out to work on your business I can pretty much guarantee that this time next year you’ll be in exactly the same position as you are right now - wondering where your next customer or client will be coming from. Do you really want to leave it a year to start making positive changes in your business?

Concern 6: ‘I’m worried the content/delegates aren’t a good fit for me’

Some prospective delegates say they love my content - and the Soulful PR community - but they’re not sure if the content/delegates will be a good fit for them.

My advice:

I’ve tried to give as much information as I can on the sales page - including a list of who I the event is right for (and who I think it isn’t). If you have any other questions...just ask!

It’s really not in my interest to have you at the event if it’s not a good fit for you. I want everyone who comes to have a great experience and I certainly don’t want you to leave negative feedback (!) so if it’s not a good fit for you, I’ll tell you straight. So please feel free to share you concerns and ask anything you like. Email me on [email protected] and I’ll get straight back to you.

Concern 7: ‘I’m worried it won’t work for me’

Some prospective delegates say they love the idea of the event, but are worried my media planning strategies won’t work for them.

My advice:

I can’t give you guarantees.  What I can tell you is that I’ve trained hundreds of people in this approach - and it works (even if you have a product-based business).  The key thing is that this is a partnership. I can share all my best ideas, tips and strategies but if you’re not willing to put in the work to make it happen, you won’t get the results you desire. But if you’re willing to do the work and make media planning and content creation a priority, you will get results.

Concern 8: ‘I won’t know anyone else attending’

If you haven’t been to a Soulful PR event before, you may feel worried about not knowing anyone.

My advice

Walking into a conference hall can be intimidating - even when you do know people. That’s why I hold a briefing call ahead of the event where you can ask any questions you have. I have also created a Twitter list and a Facebook group where you can meet other delegates ahead of the event. I’m in the process of putting together a blog post on how to prepare for the event - so when you arrive at the event you’ll already feel part of the family. You can also check out this video to get a feel for what it’s like to attend a Soulful PR event.

I'd love you to join me at Your Year in PR, so if you're ready to get your 2018 PR plan in place, then click here to book your place

 

[186] Three common press-release writing mistakes

Although press releases aren’t necessarily the best way to achieve media coverage for your business, there are times when you might want to send one.

In this episode, I help you avoid three mistakes you might be making with your press releases.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • What exactly a press release is - and when you should (and shouldn’t) be sending them
  • Why sending emails tailored to your target journalists and publications will be more effective
  • Tips on writing a great email pitch to send with your press release

Key resources

The Soulful PR Studio

Your Year in PR - my media planning masterclass

Video of Soulful PR Live

Blog post How to write an effective press release for your small business

Blog post How to write emails journalists will actually read

Podcast How to get journalists to say ‘yes’ to you (episode 158)

Podcast What to do if journalists are ignoring you (episode 98)

Podcast How to develop your pitching muscle (and why you need to) (episode 66)

Podcast How not to feel intimidated by journalists (episode 70)

Podcast Should you pitch the same idea to different journalists? (episode 56)

Soulful PR Podcast Community on Facebook: chat about the show with Janet and other listeners

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Soulful PR Facebook Community: tips & advice for promoting your business

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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.