When something exciting happens to your business – a new round of funding, a rebrand, a prestigious award – you want to let the world know. You want your face on the front page of the biggest local newspaper, and your story to go viral on social media.
Let’s talk about what constitutes a big announcement, how to maximize your news, and what to do with that front page story.
A story must have at least one of these elements for a media outlet to consider your story: impact, timeliness, proximity, human interest and conflict. Unfortunately, a new website, a day of volunteer work, and even a new hire may miss the mark. Be creative in your thinking using these elements, and you may uncover a newsworthy angle.
Who should you send your news to?
If you do have a story worth sharing, it’s time to create a list of media and local organizations who might share your news (for example, if you have an organic food announcement in Colorado, consider contacting Naturally Boulder, Slow Food, Boulder County Farmers Markets, etc.) to see if they’d be interested in sharing your story in their newsletters, or on their social channels.
Write down a list of media outlets that your clients and potential clients read, including print publications like magazines and newspapers, digital publications, podcasts, TV segments, as well as social media influencers, then look for writers who cover your industry whether it’s food, startups or nonprofits. This will comprise your “media list.”
You may be able to find specific emails on publications’ websites or on the writers’ social media channels. If not, a last resort would be the contact form, generic email or phone number listed on the contact page. One of the benefits of hiring a PR agency is that they have close relationships with the media and other key buzzworms, allowing them to send a quick email letting the writer know about a potential story.
How should you announce your news?
There are a variety of ways to get your news out there – you can send a press release, a media alert or a pitch. If you have an event that you want the media to know about and/or even invite them to, a media alert is what you’re looking for. If you have a big non-event related announcement, such as a new product, you’ll want to craft a press release. Many standard templates exist online for both.
As newsrooms continue to shrink and writers continue to be stretched thin, many PR practitioners are shifting away from writing press releases. Instead, they leave the press releases for the really big news, and instead, craft the news in a “pitch”. A pitch is a concise, yet compelling, few sentences that tells the who, what, where and most importantly WHY of a story to pique the writer’s interest, and is individually personalized to the specific recipient. Do your homework to see what that writer likes to write about, and what they’ve written recently, to make sure your pitch is relevant to them – don’t send the same email to dozens of writers.
Pick a spokesperson
Before you land that first interview, TV segment, podcast, etc., you’ll need to decide who will act as the face of the company. Make sure your designated spokesperson has your 5-6 most important messages memorized backwards and forwards so they can best tell your brand’s story in concise sound bites.
You’re famous! Now what?
Media placements are truly the gift that keeps on giving. Media hits can (and should!) be promoted on your social media channels, incorporated into emails sent to your mailing list, and added to your website. You can also add really notable hits to your email signature. These media hits add an additional level of credibility to your story.
Our blog post “PR 101” goes into these steps in more detail.
Or, you might just decide to hire a PR firm to take care of all of this (and more!) for you! A PR agency creates a PR strategy plan to ensure your message is being disseminated thoroughly and properly, they will craft your story to make sure it’s as compelling as possible, and they’ll introduce you to the right people in the right way. Give us a call if you’d like to discuss how ROOT can help you make that big splash.