The world of media is under pressure. News is travelling at the speed of light, breaking stories are broken before they happen, and it’s difficult to find an angle that has not already been done. Press rooms are no longer the buzzing metropolis of hacks and star columnists. Now there is just a skeleton staff working from their kitchen tables under pressure to produce ten times more material on a variety of topics.
You are a specialist in the world of weddings. This makes your knowledge precious to journalists assigned wedding features. If you know how to present yourself to the media you will get precious free media coverage, hitting your target market of thousands of brides looking for your services.
1. Have something worthwhile to say. No matter how much you want the gaze of the media focused in your direction, if you have nothing worthwhile to focus on, you’re wasting your time. You have to provide a story that makes news or the basis for a good feature.
2. Give the media what they’re looking for. Each publication, radio or TV station, social network or blog has an audience. Search around for specific media with audiences who will take to your specific message. Never use a shotgun approach here. Your time, effort and money will be wasted. Laser target your audience for the best results.
3. Spy on your competitors. Look at what your competitors are doing in your area of expertise. Look at where they’ve been mentioned or haven’t been mentioned. See if you can find out what your competitors in the next town or city are doing. Then figure out the people who are responsible for featuring this company and approach them with your newsworthy story.
4. You’re in the perfect industry for quality coverage! Partner with photographers who have worked on the same wedding as you and create ‘Real Wedding’ stories to submit to the glossies. Study the layout and info they include in previous issues and replicate it as much as possible. The less work the journalist has to do the better your chance of getting publicity.
5. Be timely not timeless. Your story is going to be competing with a constant flow of information. Every journalist worth his/her salt has seen it all before. Trying to fob them off with the same old hacked-out story won’t wash. Create something new that the public will love and you’ll attract the media.
6. Add bite. Journalists and editors love stats and figures. The Central Statistics Office will help with official stats, so scour official reports, polls and comparisons about your angle and include them in the opening line. Or why not run your own poll on your own website or with past or present clients?
7. Press love any opportunity to use a pic of a famous celebrity. Ride a wave by association. Think about all the sponsorship deals handed to famous celebrities. If Beyoncé wears Chanel, so must half the population. Do you have any famous or semi-famous past clients? If not be creative: ‘Posh and Beck’s gold leaf wedding invites cost £150 each: here’s Rosie’s step-by-step guide on how you can achieve the same look for £1.50.’ (I’m making this up by the way – I have no idea what their invites were like but you get the idea!)
8. Think outside the box. Don’t just limit your exposure efforts to wedding publications. Brides- and grooms-to-be read other publications, too! Business sections are a great way to get coverage, e.g. behind-the-scenes business insights. Is there something unique that you are doing in your area? Maybe you have a particular way of running your business that might be interesting to the public. If you are a venue business then home decor publications may be interested in your interiors! Parenting mags will be interested in brides with children.
9. Use your coverage as leverage. Once you’ve been accepted by your target publication make sure you leverage as much publicity from that piece as you can. Create a “in the news” category on your website. Post links on your social media properties. Send copies to potential clients along with your sales material.
10. Patience is a virtue. Getting the media to notice your business is all about long-term relationship building. It’s the same with most things in life: slow and steady wins the race. Start small and think about your media attention as a long-term investment.
And one more for good luck!
11. Think of the questions that clients ask you most and write a story pitch based on them – if they are asking you, they are finding it difficult to find the answers and if they are finding it difficult then others will appreciate the answers, too!