With December knocking at the door, thoughts turn to the holidays and getting in some chill time. Before you check out completely, you need to know that the last two months of the year can be an extremely powerful time of year for promoting your business.
As a coach, consultant, solopreneur, small business, insert your type of business here, November and December are an ideal time for you to work with the media.
During the holidays, newspapers and broadcast journalists are on the lookout for stories with a holiday tie-in or ideas that can tap into the new year goal setting phenomenon. Plus, it is usually a slower time of year for news, so that means they have spots to fill.
If you have never worked with the media, this is a great time to dive in. Here is how to get started:
1. Determine Your Holiday/New Year Stories
Working with the media is all about storytelling. So before you go any further, you need to figure out what stories you can share that will be interesting to the TV viewer or newspaper reader.
Maybe you are a fashion stylist and can talk about tips for the office holiday party or next year’s fashion trends. Perhaps you have a physical product that would be a good gift idea. Or if you’re a coach, you can talk about staying motivated through the holidays and establishing realistic goals for the new year.
Whatever your story is, keep it simple. Focus on a single concept instead of trying to to share everything. Think along the lines of “my top tips” versus “everything you ever needed to know” when you are developing your stories.
2. Figure Out Who to Pitch
Once you have your stories figured out, you will need to do a little research. Start by creating your wish list of media targets with a focus on outlets that have a short lead times such as TV, blogs and newspapers. Most print magazines plan their editorial content months in advance so they are not an ideal target for this type of pitch.
Whether you have a local business or an online one, your local media is a perfect place to start. You can get practice being interviewed or appearing on camera, telling your story and working with editors and producers. All of this experience will be beneficial when it is time for you to move on to bigger media targets.
Most contact information for media can be found on their web site on the about or contact pages. Be sure to do your homework and track down the most appropriate contact at each outlet. For TV, you want to look for producers or assignment editors, and for radio hosts and/or producers are your best bet.
For newspapers and larger blogs, identify the section that is most relevant to you and look for a section editor or beat editor. For example if you are talking about holiday meal ideas, you want to pitch the food editor. Be on the lookout for special holiday sections that may also be a fit.
3. Write and Send Your Pitch
You’ve got your story and target, now you just need to write your media pitch. Pitches should be customized for each media outlet you plan to pitch—that means you customize for every individual blog or show.
Every pitch should include a working title, a summary paragraph with the key points for the story and a two line bio that showcases your expertise.
The real meat of your pitch is the summary paragraph as that is what will really sell your story. Outline the topic and what you are going to talk about. Also, if you are pitching TV, you may want to offer a visual to make the story more appealing.
Be sure to keep your pitch short and to the point. Here is an example:
The holiday office party can be one of the trickiest events of the year to navigate, especially when it comes down to what to wear. If you are interested, I’d love to come on XYZ morning show to share my top three tips for tasteful style that stands out for the holiday office party. I can also bring some sample outfits and accessories to share with your viewers.
In three short sentences, this fashion stylist has identified an issue, talked about how she can address it and followed up with an idea of how to make the story visual. That information, paired with a bio establishing her expertise, would likely make this pitch a home run.
Once the pitch is written and ready to go, you just need to send it via email and then wait. If they do not get back to you in about a week feel free to gently follow up with another email. Do not assume that if you do not hear back, your idea was a dud, they may have just received a lot of similar ideas or are not looking for that type of content right now.
Media relations requires perseverance to get started but the benefits to your business are many, especially when it comes to reaching new customers and building your credibility.
Have you worked with the media to create publicity for your business? Share your story below in the comments.
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