How do I gain print coverage for my clients in today’s ever-changing print industry?
Because financially-strapped newspapers and magazines may have smaller staffs, it’s harder than ever to get a reporter’s attention and your story covered. But not impossible. Here are some tips for breaking through the clutter and making reporters take notice.
Part of being a public relations expert is knowing how to treat reporters as individuals. Yes, they’re all doing similar work, but depending on their beats or the outlets they work or write for, their needs can be very different. Often, going the extra mile can help forge a trusting relationship—which is why we recommend meeting with reporters face-to-face when there are opportunities—through media tours, trade shows, publication visits, round tables and media events. It can be an extremely effective way to put a face with your brand and to build authentic connections with the media.
One caveat. Don’t arrive with an “all-about-my-brand” mentality. It’s important to use these meetings as an opportunity to get to know the media contacts—both personally and professionally. Be sure to ask not only about their topic interests, how they work, and what products they’re likely to feature for their publication, but also their personal interests. Forming a genuine relationship with members of the media can increase the likelihood of you, and your brand, being top-of-mind for upcoming stories. Whether you wish a media member well on an upcoming event or send an article they might find of interest, a bit of personalization won’t go unnoticed (as long as it’s authentic).
Know Your Niche
Reporters have different tastes and interests, and serve different readers and viewers. Your job is to understand what they care about almost as much as they do. If you know what they’re hungry for, it’s easier to feed them stories that whet their appetites. They receive hundreds of emails a day (since there are six PR professionals to every journalist)*. If you want to get through to them, your pitch must be pertinent to what they cover. Conduct research regularly to learn what your target media contacts are working on for best results.
Additionally, understanding the nuances of what each publication actually covers is critical in the success of your pitch, and to the success of your overall relationship.
Expand Your Horizons
While some may think print journalism is dying, perhaps it is just changing. Many brands and apps have started to publish their own niche publications to their users and consumers. This creates new, strategic opportunities to directly target your audience while gaining print coverage.
Recently, Engadget published the article, “Why some tech companies are turning to print,” which focuses on the trend of digital apps and “younger” companies releasing print magazines. Examples include companies like Bumble, Airbnb and Uber. So, whether your brand has its own publication or could potentially be included in a relevant story within another brand’s publication, these new print publications arising are ideal ways to reach your target audiences.
Consider Content Types
Print news does not have to be delivered as just text. Content reigns king in the digital age, but consider pitching video, infographics and images to the media for inclusion in both their print and online stories. The likelihood that media engage with your content increases with these visuals, and a visual element may increase the likelihood of cross-publication of the information you are sharing to both print and online media.
The good news is print news is not dying. In fact, content is more popular than ever. However, reconsidering how you build relationships, how you deliver information and what you consider a “win” as far as media placements, will influence your results.