Finding Press Opportunities
When you start up your business, I imagine lots of us dream of flattering press coverage. But with a limited press budget, how can you achieve this? Investing thousands in a PR company can feel risky and uncertain on a small budget and as a small business, it can feel as though you are handing over your baby you’ve been growing by yourself.
Obviously the usual compromise for a small budget is that you will instead be spending your time instead of your money. To make the most of your time I would suggest honing in on key publications and journalists. While the rest of your friends will be taking social media detoxes, you will probably be spending your evening doing social media research!
Find two or three key magazines that are the perfect fit for your products. Buy them and check out those mastheads showing you all of the staff and their positions!
The masthead will either be near the front or back of the magazine. You are going to want to go and follow all the relevant journalists on their social media accounts as most journalists have Twitter and Instagram nowadays. Online publications often have a team page or links to each journalist on their articles although it can involve a little more detective work.
It can be tempting to just blanket email all the journalists you have just followed but as a small business you have the advantage of being personal and this will ruin this potential. Hopefully you are naturally interested and engaged in the magazines and journalists you have chosen to follow so now you are going to hold fire and just naturally engage with those accounts. If you are like me, chances are you were already doing this on your personal social media accounts, but now you are going to use these interactions to make your brand name recognisable to those people.
Just keep following and interacting with your chosen key accounts. Patience is a virtue remember! You are waiting for a suitable ‘in’. For example, you sell statement necklaces. One of the journalists posts about their favourite statement necklaces or you see an Instagram post of them wearing something similar. This is the moment you have been waiting for! Send a brief email along the lines of ‘I’ve just seen your latest post of you wearing a beautiful statement necklace. I would love to send you a sample of my own necklaces’. Include a brief (maybe two sentences) introduction to your business. It’s also a great idea to show your genuine interest in their work, perhaps mention a recent article of theirs you enjoyed.
Sometimes it can be even easier as journalists will sometimes ask for recommendations of brands that sell X for a piece.
Do not be disheartened if nothing comes of your attempts. Keep going. I emailed a journalist who was looking for scrunchie brands for an article back in August 2016. While I did receive a reply, it was to say that she was no longer looking to write this article. But I was not giving up! In April 2017 I spied the same journalist wearing a scrunchie and quickly sent another email offering some scrunchies again. She loved her scrunchies and in May emailed me with some questions to help with an article on the return of 80s accessories. I didn’t hear anything else until September when an assistant at the magazine asked for photos of my scrunchies. I still wasn’t sure if this was for the article or not. A couple of weeks later I noticed I was having more sign ups for my newsletter than I usually would and ran off to buy the magazines. Sure enough, there was the article of the return of the scrunchie and my photo.
Why have I gone through that kind of long winded story for you? Because the process can be long winded. It’s so easy to see other products featured and think ‘how lucky, I wish that was me’ and I’m guilty of those thoughts too! But it is also important to remember that behind lots of lucky breaks is a lot of groundwork. As with almost everything related to running your own business, you need to keep going. Persevere persistently with positivity, try making your own lucky breaks and go get it!
Alrighty, think that is all of it!
Written by Jo Norton