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2020 has shaped up to be quite a year. I think many of us have some choice words to describe this rollercoaster ride. One word that comes to mind is shifting

Businesses and schools have had to shift how they operate. Parents have taken on a new role as teachers, college students are learning from their dorms instead of lecture halls, and the media has shifted its attention to strictly COVID and the election. 

As COVID and the election continue to dominate the news cycle, how do you get press coverage? 

It’s all about shifting how and where you pitch. 

While the mainstream media is doing wall to wall coverage on these two issues, hundreds of media outlets are still looking for stories. Stories that you can most likely be part of. Here’s how!

Focus on Industry Media

Media outlets in your industry are not as focused on the election or COVID as the mainstream media. However, they are doing stories surrounding those topics, but it’s more specific to the publication and their audience. For example, a health and wellness publication may do a story on ways to de-stress during these times. Or foods that we should be eating to boost our immune system during COVID and flu season. If you are in the health and wellness space, this is something that you should think about when pitching your stories.  

COVID and the election aside, the media in your industry is still publishing hundreds of stories that are focused on other topics. This is your opportunity to get your story told or be quoted as an expert in your industry. Forget being on the Today Show, for now- and focus on getting as much press coverage in smaller, industry-focused media. 

Start building a list of your industry media outlets, gather the editor’s email, and pitch away. Make sure to keep your pitch short, simple, and easy to understand. And of course, create an attention-grabbing headline.  I have all of this information, pulse how to write the perfect pitch and headlines in my PR Crash Course. Click here to learn more.

If you are pitching yourself as an expert to the media compile a few story ideas that include stats, studies, trends, or recent news items that you can weigh in on. For example, write an email introducing yourself with a link to your website and let the journalist know that you are an expert in a particular industry, and include a few story suggestions with your talking points. 

Think Like a Journalist

I can’t tell you how many pitches that I’ve received and they do not have anything to do with what our viewers would want. For example, I received a pitch for a cooking segment on Newsmax’s morning show. 1- The studio doesn’t even have a kitchen. 2- The morning show format is strictly hard news and politics. This would not be the right fit for this show. And it appears as if the publicist didn’t take the time to research the show.

When journalists receive a pitch they are thinking things like, “Why would my reader or viewer care about this story? What’s in for them? What will they learn? How can this help them? And does this align with our audience?”

You have to put yourself in the mind of the journalist and take yourself out of the pitch. We all think that our brand is the best and everyone needs to know about it, but a press pitch is not a sales pitch. It’s all about the story. 

When you are crafting your pitch, pretend that you the journalist and the reader or viewer. I guarantee your pitch will change when you do this. 

Write. Contribute. Create Content

The media is a 24/7 business and their goal is to put out as much content as possible. Many media outlets have made cuts and that has opened the doors for freelance journalists and contributing writers. This is a great opportunity for you! You have the chance to share your expertise in an article that you can control the content and narrative for a major media outlet. Simply go on the media outlet’s website and see what the requirements are to be a contributing writer. 

Another way to get your message out to the public is to write your own blog and share it on all of your social media platforms. Just like contributing, this is a great way to show your expertise and provide people with valuable information. 

Remember, public relations is not just about getting on TV or appearing in a digital publication. You can gain credibility in multiple ways including writing your own content, creating videos, and being present and engaged on social media. 

During these times of uncertainty, it’s important to focus on shifting your thoughts and strategy to ensure that you stay on top. 

Let me know what ways you plan on shifting your media strategy for the rest of 2020!

It was 11:30 at night and I just got home from my weekly segment on Newsmax TV in New York City. It’s a 2-hour train ride and another hour in the car to make it back to Western Massachusetts. I do this trip almost every Wednesday.

Do I get paid for it? No. Do I get paid to be on other news outlets? No. Do I have a hairstylist, makeup and wardrobe? No. Do I get paid to write articles? No.

You may be wondering why do I all of this? I’m a single mom of three girls, a business owner and soon to be a fill-in morning news anchor on Western Mass News. You would think that I have enough on my plate. Nah, there’s always room for more! Here’s why you should say yes to opportunities that come your way.

Know Your Reason

I do it because I absolutely love it, but it’s also about the journey. You can’t just snap your fingers and be where you want to be.  What many people, especially younger folks (ugh I can't believe that I just went there), think is that it’s all about the dollar. Getting to the place you want to be and make the kind of money you desire takes time and a lot of hard work. 

This opportunity to be on the news and write articles builds my personal brand and business.  Doing these types of media appearances and articles are extremely important when it comes to raising awareness. It’s how you stand out.

Put in the Work

If you want press attention it’s going to be a lot of work.  You may have to do an interview on a Saturday morning or wake up at 2 am. You will have to put work and family aside to be interviewed or write an article. And no, you don’t get paid by the media to appear on the news, but the press coverage is well worth it. 

Say Yes

We all have goals and we must be willing to do what it takes to achieve them. For me, I have goals to continue contributing on the news and eventually have my own show on the network. In order to get there, I must do all of these things. I must say yes to every opportunity and stop being scared.

I’m sure there are times that you don’t want to do something because you are scared or tired.  But when things make you scared that is when you should say yes to them. Stop letting fear dictate your life and seize the opportunities that will help you advance. Just say yes!

Owning a business is a challenge, but taking the time to market your own business is a challenge in itself.

I get it. You’re busy with clients, employees, and day-to-day tasks. But, it’s critical that you dedicate a certain amount of time to provide your customers and followers valuable content, which in turn will help market your brand and business.

Content is King

Take a few hours and write down what type of content you can provide. By content - I mean blogs, video blogs, Facebook Lives, Instagram Lives and podcasts.

Next, look at your list of topics and make sure that what you are sharing is important to your readers. Mary Hawkins, Senior Editor, Entertainment & Special Projects at Café Mom, says that her number one piece of advice for people writing content is to always write with a purpose. “Ask yourself does your content offer the reader some sort of takeaway? Does it spark emotion or make them react? Is this something that I would read and feel compelled to share with others?” says Hawkins. She says that she always has writers ask themselves those questions before any piece of content goes live.

Just Do It

Once you have the list, create a calendar and a to-do list. And most importantly hold yourself accountable. Carve out a few hours a week that you will focus on this. If you don’t have time to do it, have someone internally handle it or outsource the work.

When you’re writing a blog be sure that you have the appropriate keywords in your article and meta tags on the back end of your website. 

The main goal is to have the appropriate keywords in your introduction, title and throughout the article that Google will like. For example, if you are writing about a construction project, you will want to make sure that the keywords reflect what you are really writing about. The same applies to the meta tags. Google uses meta tags to place your content in the appropriate searches.

Here’s How to Do It

Here’s an example. Let’s say that you are a chef. You can write a blog about using local ingredients in your latest recipe. You will then put that on Facebook and direct people to your website. Next, you film a video of you making the recipe. While filming it, you shoot an Instagram and Facebook Live talking about the recipe and encourage people to stay tuned for the full video. You can also host a live event where you encourage followers to ask cooking questions.

After that, you post the video on social media and tease them with your next one. That one small blog can morph into so many pieces of content on multiple different platforms.

Engage With Your Audience

Of course, we want the readers to be so enthralled with our content that they either use our services or buy our product. But, you must be careful to not sell to the reader. You want to have conversations with them. Ask them what they want. Encourage them to share their advice, stories…etc. You want them to feel like an extension of your brand and let them know that their opinion matters.

Ask the Experts

A great way to give your audience valuable information is to include other experts in your blogs and video blogs. Team up with other business owners and leaders in the community to share their insight. Not only does it add more credibility to your content, but it helps them with their business. Plus, they will share out your content too!

Have Fun

Have fun with this. Sharing your knowledge through writing and videos is not meant to be as serious as many people think that it is. Let your personality shine and be yourself. The more you are authentic, the more your followers will connect with you.

Share Your Success

I’d love to hear what you are doing to get your message out. What’s working for you? What’s putting your company above the competition? Share your thoughts and I’ll post them on our social media!