Our client, Victoria Lambert, a freelance journalist and CEO of Miss Dashwood’s Register, a media introduction agency which connects journalists direct to small business and start-ups, has worked with us to bring you this week’s blog post.
As a freelance journalist for national newspapers and magazines, I spend most of my life searching for interesting people to write about. You might be one of them. Everyone has a story to tell.
But would you be ready and able to speak to me – or any journalist – about your business, passion or area of expertise? How would you get the most out of an encounter like that – and would you feel confident you were putting your best foot forward?
Here are eight of my top tips on making it into the media and making the most of it when you get there:
Be self aware
Describe your business as though to a friend who speaks very little English (or try doing it in a language you have a rough grasp of). Include one special fact. You might say: “I make and sell toys. Hand-painted toys.” Now add in another fact that makes you unusual or unique. “I’m the only person to do this in Hampshire.”
Add a good quality picture of a toy, your price range, web and social media details, list of stockists, and a contact name and number. And there you have a short, clear press release.
Add a headline which contains a “news peg” – a topical or time sensitive idea. Like “Queen’s birthday inspires Hampshire’s only traditional toymaker to create Royal rocking-horse”.
Remember to be clear about your messages and the story you want to sell – don’t try and be all things to all people.
Be audience aware
Don’t send a press release about your toys to Saga magazine (unless you took up your career – like toy making – after retirement). Do target local media and B2B titles as well as national media. National journalists often follow up stories in local newspapers or on news sites.
Do follow journalists who write for your preferred media outlets online. Look out for #journorequest to find out what stories are being worked on, and where you could reasonably pitch yourself.
If a journalist responds to your press release, only offer what you can. Don’t promise pictures of your toys with the Queen (unless she is planning to visit your workshop).
Don’t hound or twitterstalk the journalist if they don’t get back to you – they will if they can or want to.
Be a delight
Make it easy, simple and fun for a journalist to work with you. A positive working relationship will turn you into a preferred contact, and make you first port of call for stories about your industry or special interest in the future.