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Swift Six: How to get press coverage for your small business

By Thomas Costello - April 15, 2015

Hi, I’m Thomas Costello and I’m head of PR and communications at 123-reg. In this Swift Six, I’ll be taking you through the basics of getting press coverage for your business. Press coverage is a great way to spread the word about who you are and what you do, so you can reach potential customers who wouldn’t have otherwise heard of you. Here’s the video.

Hi. Welcome to this 123-reg Swift 6. I’m Thomas Costello and I’m Head of PR and Communications at 123-reg. Today I’m going to be talking to you about how to gain the best press coverage for your business.The first thing is to look at: Why you want the press coverage. What has your business done that’s remarkable? Do you have an unusual sector? Do you have an unusual product offering? Have you won an award? Always look at what your business has done and that someone would be interested in.

The second point to remember is to identify those potential journalists that are going to cover your story. But remember, always be realistic. A way of identifying these journalists is to connect with them on Twitter. See what they’re talking about, see who they’re following. Are there conversations that you could get involved in and really build that relationship?

Remember: it’s all about building relationships with people. If you just hammer press releases at these people, they’re not going to be interested in you. But if they’ve already had a connection with you, you have a much greater chance of gaining that press coverage that you want.

Another part of this is to always be local. Don’t forget the local journalists in your area. They’re the ones that are really going to be interested in local issues, and if you have a fantastic product offering in the local area they’re going to be very receptive to what you do.

Being topical is always important as well. If you won an award, if you have a product release make sure that you coincide with an event. Make sure that you’re talking about that event, talking about that product in that context. But remember: be ambitious. If you have something great, make sure you’re shouting about it, make sure you’re talking to the right journalists. Remember: big titles need stories as well.

The third point to remember is learning the art of a great pitch. There’s no point in going through Twitter and finding these great contacts if you then ruin it by a really badly structured pitch to a journalist. The first thing you’ve got to remember is have a really attention-grabbing headline. Make people want to read what you have to say.

Apart from that, address them personally. Remember, journalists are people as well. They’re the same as you and I, they’re reading emails every day. If you get an email that’s addressed personally to you against an email that’s just blanket sent to everyone on a list, you’re more likely to read something that’s personal.

Remember you’ve always got to cut to the chase. Journalists don’t have a lot of time to read pages and pages of emails. Get to the point. Make sure the journalist knows from the beginning exactly what you want to tell them.

Journalists need to know that your story is interesting to them. So show them that what they’re writing about, what their main niche of writing is, that you have something to offer them. Remember: it’s about you offering the journalist something of value for their story, not the other way around.

Journalists love data. Journalists love facts and figures, it gives their story an extra oomph so make sure you’re giving them little packets of data that they may not necessarily have.

The fourth point is to make sure you follow up. Stats show that following up on stories pays dividends. So if a journalist hasn’t got back to you straight away send them an email. Make sure that they’ve read your email. Or, if you have their number, give them a call. If you’re connected via Twitter, why not just send them a tweet to make sure that they did get your initial response and if they need further information from you, make sure you’re on hand to give it to them. Remember journalists are on deadline.

The fifth part is build a lasting relationship. What I mean by lasting relationship is mutually beneficial relationship between yourself and the journalist. A journalist may need a story in a six-month’s time but they know who to come to. Once you have that cemented relationship, you’re on to a winner.

The final point is to monitor your results. There’s no point connecting with journalists, making press releases and putting a lot of time into this if you’re not monitoring what you do. It’s much like any other piece of marketing that you’ll do.

Another great way of monitoring your results is to create a press cutting book. There are many services online that you can do this for free. It’s a really great way of showing people how well your PR and your communications coverage is doing.

A final way is to use a service like Meltwater News. Meltwater is a paid full service but it allows you to analyse in really great detail how well your coverage is doing and who’s viewing it. You can look at demographics and you can also look at where people are viewing your coverage to see whether there are new target areas that you want to push into.

That was 123-reg Swift 6. Thanks for watching.