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Pru Chapman
OC Founder + Head Hustler

Pru Chapman is the Founder + Head Hustler at Owners Collective, a dedicated digital community and global online resource hub for early-stage entrepreneurs. Pru gets giddy supporting business owners to create meaningful, sustainable + profitable business. She loves nothing more than bulletproof coffee, her pooch Maverick, andd an empty mountain hiking trail.

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Want to get your brand into more media?⁠

In this episode, I interviewed Odette Barry of Odette and Co to give us the low down on how to Hack Your Own PR.

Odette Barry is a storyteller with a passion for helping businesses share their stories. Her PR career spans marketing and communications for Westpac, the Australian Physiotherapy Association, TAFE NSW and Women’s Fitness magazine.

She’s a headline-winning PR mentor, who designed and teaches the popular Hack Your Own PR program, an intimate program designed for small business owners. Odette also hosts a podcast by the same name, Hack Your Own PR, where she interviews some of Australia’s best journalists, producers and editors about the commonly misunderstood publicity gig.

From understanding your outlet to uncovering your angles and key messages, Odette walked us through her top tips on getting your brand visible in the media…⁠

Annnnd why you’re the best person to do it!⁠

Let’s get to it!

 

Here’s what we cover:

  • The absolute importance of understanding the media outlet you’re pitching to
  • Choosing the outlet and Journalist that are right for you
  • The importance of being a good human in the PR realm
  • How to pick your key messages and angles

 

Links and resources:

  • To find out more about Odette head to her website here
  • Follow Odette on instagram here
  • Be sure that you’re subscribed on Apple Podcasts or Spotify so you don’t miss an episode!
  • If you’re keen for more head over to my other podcast One Wild Ride for a listen
  • Ready to launch & leverage your own gig? Download my free guide to starting and scaling your business over at theownerscollective.com/startandscale

 

Enjoy this episode?

Be sure to be subscribed on Apple Podcasts or if you’re an Android user you can follow on Spotify. While you’re there, I’d LOVE you to drop me a rating and review, as is helps get this podcast into the ears of more fine folks like you.

 

Watch the episode here:

 

Full Transcript

Pru:

Hey, Odette, welcome to the show.

Odette:

Oh, hello. Thanks so much for having me.

Pru:

My absolute pleasure. Now, I’ve brought you on the show today because I want to talk about all things PR. You’re a passionate storyteller yourself, but you’re also really passionate about helping small business owners tell their story. So, I bet we’ve got some juicy goodness coming up.

Odette:

I hope so. The pressure’s on.

Pru:

Awkward if not. Now, you’ve got some really big name guns under your belt. So, through marketing and communications for Westpac, the Australian Physiotherapy Association, TAFE New South Wales, women’s fitness. The list just goes on and on and kind of spans this really broad arena of tech, design, beauty, wellness, health, which I think positions you so well to be in the space of PR mentoring. There’s a conversation that you and I were having a little while ago now about how there’s this real gap in the market that has been for years and years and years, for small businesses wanting to hustle their own PR or not having big budgets or the big as big a need for a big agency.

Pru:

But it’s kind of like we’ve got small businesses on one side and big agencies on the other, and you have just like nicely slotted into the middle of teaching small business owners how to actually get some traction by doing their own PR. So, just give us a little bit of background about what your impetus was to dive into the PR mentoring space?

Odette:

Oh, God, there’s like so many compounding reasons, I think, in why. I think as you mentioned, there’s not a lot of small businesses that can afford big budget agencies, and yet, small business owners tend to be the people with the coolest stories to tell. So, it’s like almost an injustice that they’re not out there telling their stories. But I think if I were to think back over my career, what the biggest sort of contributing factor to why I’ve decided to teach people how to do PR, it was this moment early in my career, where I’d gone to uni and studied PR and strategic communications, journalism and marketing, and had all this backing of knowledge.

Odette:

Then, I needed to write a media release and secure a story, and none of that felt relevant, or useful, or helpful. I just picked up the phone and just fossick about for how to craft the story, and looked at the paper. It wasn’t the founding principles of communication that got the story over the line. It was curiosity and hassle, and just that inquisitive mind that enabled me to secure a pitch within like a couple of days of being in a job. Everyone was just like, “What just happened there? How did you know how to get this off the ground so quickly?” I was like, “Well, I read the paper. I called up the editor, asked what they’re writing about, and got the story across the line.”

Odette:

So, for me, whenever I think about PR, I almost feel like I’m stealing money off people, because I think everyone’s equipped to do it themselves. I really do think that the closer you are to your story, the better you’re going to be at telling it. So, people, business owners are very well equipped to tell their stories. They just need to know how to get from A to B. So, that’s kind of why I decided to do the program, because I know so many business owners would struggle to fork out between two and five, sometimes 10K a month for a publicity retainer.

Odette:

But they can fork out a couple of grand to learn those foundational skills that are going to essentially make them five grand a month for the lifetime of their business, if they’re comfortable to pitch out their story when they’ve got news to share. So, yeah, that’s [crosstalk 00:04:03].

Pru:

Yeah, it’s so cool, and I couldn’t agree more in the small business owners. Sometimes even if they do take that real leap to work with the agency, when I’ve seen that in the past and they pay the $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 retainer a month, and they think they’re doing the right thing because they’re giving their brand the best possible shot out there. But really still, they’re still the smallest fish in that arena. There’s still, for a lot of those big agencies, even though they’re working with agencies, they’re still the littlest client on the book, which doesn’t give them the best amount of attention or the most eyes on their brand.

Odette:

Totally, and I think it’s like, PR agencies are up against a shit fight, if we’re completely honest, with what they’re dealing with. You look at lots of those, there’s probably very few industries that look at these kinds of rankings. But as a publicist, you always do about what the most stressful jobs are, and it’s like paramedic, brain surgeon, ambulance publicist, and it’s like, why is publicity in there? But there’s a really good reason, and it’s because there’s so much uncertainty in what we do. In a lot of businesses, you pull the lever, you get the result, you dial this one to the left and that tweak things.

Odette:

With publicity you can have an amazing story, shit hot talent, all the facts and data to validate what it is that you are going to market with. Then, a Royal will have a baby, and suddenly your really meaningful story disappears from relevance to that day’s news cycle. Sometimes you only have one day that you can go out with this particular news, and something of such complete irrelevance to what your news story is can hijack the news cycle. So, I think for publicists, it can be so stressful because you’re working so hard to please your client and get those runs on the board for them, that you’ve committed and promised to, and meet their expectations.

Odette:

But then, you’re dealing with this always moving foundation of the media landscape and it’s big, borrow, steel landscape of PR. You’re trying to woo and romance journalists, but at the end of the day, if something’s not newsworthy, or it’s not interesting, or there’s a bigger news story, then that’s completely out of the publicist’s hands. You have to go back to your client and let them know that unfortunately, despite the 25 hours of planning, research, and pitching, it’s not going to run. So, I think [inaudible 00:06:42] is a great investment in PR, when you own that investment yourself and you’re really close to the story, you can continue to have that romance with a journalist.

Odette:

So, even if you got sideswiped and that story didn’t get to run that particular time, that journo now knows you, they know that you’re full of amazing stories, that you were great to work with. You had all of the talent. You had all of the insights. So, when the right time comes up, they’ll come back to you. Whereas when you’re working with an agency, they don’t know anything about you other than the story that’s been pitched to them.

Pru:

You have a particular talent in helping people be able to tell their story as well. So, I think that there’s really two components to this isn’t there? Actually, nutting out what the story is that you have to tell and crafting that in a way that’s going to be newsworthy, and then getting it into the news.

Odette:

Yeah, and I think everyone is notorious at thinking what it is that they have to share this news. Like, we’re excited about it. It’s really meaningful to us. But I think what we need to do as storytellers is flip the lens that we frame our story and say, how does this actually relate to the audience of this particular publication? Because not every single story is relevant to every single outlet. If we were to pitch to you, Pru, it’s going to need to be a how to practical tips piece around business. And talking about the functions of a vacuum cleaner are not necessarily going to get off the ground.

Odette:

But if we were talking to a home where they’re a tech publication, then they might be slightly more interested in that. So, yeah, I think when it comes to figuring out what your story is to tell, it’s very much about looking for the juicy and exciting moments that have been, got that human interest side of things. But it’s also looking at the broader context and thinking, okay, what’s happening in the rest of the globe? What’s happening in the rest of our industry that we can mark our story around. Then, let’s make sure that aligns to the outlets we want to be seen in.

Pru:

Yeah. Good one. Also, what you highlight there is the difference between storytelling or a newsworthy piece, and advertising. Very, very different, but I know particularly for early stage entrepreneurs, they can think, like you said, they’re really excited about whatever it is they do. They think that that’s newsworthy. Whereas journalists don’t advertise. Journalists tell stories.

Odette:

Yeah, and I think that delineation, honestly, I’ve said this to you so many times, I spend most of my time educating people what PR actually is before they’re even interested in PR. Because it’s that mysterious thing that no one has any idea how it happens, and most people probably don’t realize that between 50% and 80% of most of the coverage that’s in media outlets has been pitched. It hasn’t just the journalist stumbled across this magical gem that they want to write about, that behind closed doors these publicists hammering journalists on email, ringing them on the phone. But all of that is considered strategic communications.

Odette:

So, I think there’s a big opportunity for people to get clear on what the difference is between advertising. So when we talk about advertising, we’re looking at paying and booking ads within a space. We have complete control of the message in that, which is divine and lovely, but we don’t get that beautiful juicy third party endorsement with advertising. People see the ad, they know it’s an ad, they know the person’s paid to be there. When we secure editorial features, or pin an editorial, or product features within an outlet, as consumers of media we see that and we go, “Oh, wow, that’s amazing.

Odette:

That’s been endorsed by the Sydney Morning Herald, or by the project, or whatever it is.” Because they’ve applied some journalistic integrity and scrutiny of the things they want to feature. So, while people can buy their way onto a program through advertising, you can’t buy your way there through publicity. You have to earn your way in there. So, you have to be aligned, you have to be credible, you have to have the insights, whatever it is, it’s definitely about earning it in PR.

Pru:

Ah, and great segue into the questions that I want to ask you, because I’d love for you, as a top level, to give us the lay of the land. It’s like what is PR and why should businesses be paying attention to it?

Odette:

Yeah. So, PR is the act of securing coverage within outlets that are aligned to your voice. And we do that through phone and email pitching, a little bit of romance never goes astray. But then media landscape is everything from television, radio, digital blogs, news outlets, but also podcasts, like a hugely valuable emerging platform for PR coverage. So, PR is very much about building a relationship with either the podcast host, the editors, the presenters, the chief of staff. Getting really clear what their story is about and then aligning your story to them.

Odette:

Now, the reason why I love PR so much, even though it’s the bane of my existence, is the fact that not a lot of people know about it and understand it, because everyone is on social media. Then, of that, maybe 70% to 80% have a marketing strategy, of that, even less have a PR strategy because they don’t know and understand it. So, one of the fastest ways to transformed the trust, credibility, and reputation of your brand is to delve into the dark arts of publicity, because people trust exponentially in the domain of PR, well in the domain of media coverage.

Odette:

I think there was like an Ipsos survey, there’s one every year, but said that 62% of consumers trust information that they receive via new sources, as opposed to something like 20% with social media. So, if we’re looking at things, if you’ve got a high value product, or if you’ve got a product that requires some explanation, or people need time to build a relationship with it, then publicity can be a really, really valuable tool in that space.

Pru:

Good one. And so, then, the question kind of begs is, why now? Why now should we be paying attention to PR?

Odette:

Well, why now? Well, why all the time really, if we’re going to be honest. I think that it’s very valuable, but also why now, if we’re going to time date this of April, 2020 of the year, that is the strangest year of anyone’s lives. So, many of us are turning to the news now more than ever.

Pru:

I am, absolutely.

Odette:

Yeah. And the ABC, the Guardian, Fairfax, all of the major news platforms have come out with their traffic readings and they have had exponential growth. So, if we’re going to think about times when people are actually dialing into news as opposed to potentially putting the blinkers on, as some of us might be inclined to do at times, but now people are seeking information and education. But they’re also seeking delight and entertainment from news outlets. So, that’s probably one major reason why I think PR right now.

Odette:

But another thing is that so many businesses are going through this enormous transformation right now. We’re like in the cocoon, the chrysalis, I don’t even know if that’s the right word, but let’s just pretend it is. They’re in the cocoon transforming, and what better thing to do with your time than up skill and learn a new craft, so that when you come out of this pandemic, you come loaded with the ability to secure a headline coverage about your business. For some businesses that are service-based, that their clients might have dropped off a little bit, then why not fill your time with learning a skill that’s going to start laying the foundations of building trust and expertise, and getting your name out there so that when people are ready to spend, they’re ready to spend with you.

Pru:

Yes, yes, yes to all of the things. I think there’s so many gold nuggets in what you’re saying there, and particularly one of them is that you get that huge step there around just how many stories that we actually see have been pitched. So, when you see your competitors, and perhaps they’re landing on the front page of a magazine, or they’ve got an article in a great magazine that you like, or whatever it might be, it’s more likely than not that they pitched for that. It hasn’t just been that that particular publication has gone out and found them, which I know in the early stages of my business, that’s what I actually thought would happen.

Pru:

That they were the journalist just going around and finding all the stories, but they’re most likely been pitched to them. So, I think that’s, yeah, like you say why now, but why always is that, this is just such a handy tool to have in your back pocket and one that is, I think, completely under utilized as well. So, of course, we’re all across the Instagram, and the LinkedIn, and Facebook, all the things. But PR is kind of, like you say, it’s this darker cousin out to the side that not everyone knows about that’s doing some pretty nifty work over there.

Odette:

Yeah, and look, there’s definitely some dark sides to PR for sure. I think it’s probably been single-handedly responsible for the tobacco addiction and for big oil and big pharma having such wild success. But it’s also had some really important and powerful impacts in terms of activism and good business as well. So, it’s definitely one of those things that I think has a terrible reputation. For a business that’s in the domain of building reputation, it’s definitely got some work to do on itself.

Pru:

I think you’re too harsh on it. I think you say the underbelly, we all think it’s golden sparkles out here.

Odette:

All right. It’s all golden sparkles.

Pru:

We all want some payout. So, tell us, Odette, what is the potential if we get this right? For a small business owner, they learn how to hack their own PR, they have these skills on board. What is the potential?

Odette:

Well, trust is one of those things that’s really hard to measure, and that’s one of those aged old stories of PR, “Oh, it’s very difficult to measure.” But I’ve worked really closely with business owners that have had trust transformed by any measure, but they’ve also had significant transformation to their bottom line. So, I’ve worked with service-based businesses, website developers that have gained consistent coverage over a three-month period. That has transformed them into being the thought leader in their domain, and being the go-to people that get massive contracts of million dollar websites that a couple of years prior they would have been nowhere near.

Odette:

It’s not to say that just the publicity on its own is responsible for that, because you have to have the skills capability, ability to deliver on what it is that you’re saying you do. But I’ve also worked with little tiny businesses that have had one four-minute segment on the morning show, that’s generated over $20,000 worth of sales. So, the biggest thing that I would say is that PR is not an overnight success thing. Whilst you might have one opportunity that single-handedly generates $20,000, the greater context of that has to be explained that there’s also an influencer campaign going on.

Odette:

There’s also three or four months worth of coverage prior to that. So, there’s a building of equity. So, I always consider the advice to people to think about PR as the long game. I hate saying that it’s a slow game. I don’t think that’s the right description. I think it’s about the long investment, and that can be your time, and that’s a couple of hours a week that you’re dedicating to researching, refining your story angles, and pitching out to a specific journalist, not a whole couple of hundred. You can do that over a sustained period and continue to get great coverage.

Pru:

So, much goodness in there. All right, well, let’s get to it. Hit me off with your top tips on how our listeners and viewers can hack their own PR.

Odette:

Well, I think there’s a couple of really important things to do in the first instance, and I think we’ve chatted about this before. The first thing is to read the paper, or watch the TV show, or listen to the podcast that you want to be featured in. The closer you understand the outlet, the better aligned your story is going to be. So that when a journalist opens their email, they go, “This person gets me, this story makes sense for my audiences. It’s going to feel like a natural fit.” Because if your story doesn’t feel like a natural fit, it’s going to sound exactly like an advertisement.

Odette:

So, the editor, producer, or whoever receives it, it’s going to go, “Hey Betty, in advertising, do you want to give this person a call because they’re interested in team getting coverage with us in an advertising perspective.” If you go into it with a storytelling mindset, then you’re going to be there to add value, tell something that’s interesting and valuable to their audience, and so it’ll feel like a natural fit. So, start with the reading and listening as your first point of call.

Pru:

I think that is a great tip and actually being a podcast host myself. So, I get a lot of approaches for people pitching to be on the podcast. As I’ve said to Odette, it is blatantly obvious within the first line whether they actually listened to the podcast or not. If they don’t, it’s pretty much a straight no from there. So, I couldn’t agree more, number one is understand your outlet.

Odette:

Yeah, and I would say try and choose a short list of between three and five outlets for your first round of coverage. Because that’s going to give you a close frame of view so that you’re not going out really broad and like, “I’ve got to go there, and here, and there.” Just choose three and then your job is to stalk the bejesus out of them online. So, in every format, so whether most journalists, like so many news journalists anyway will be on Twitter, a lot will be on LinkedIn, and some will have a public profile on Instagram. So, whatever platform it is, go there and get to know them on a personal level.

Odette:

You don’t necessarily have to know their toothbrush routine, but it might be nice to observe whether they’ve got kids, whether they’ve got a dog, whether they always write health stories, whether they are at a long form producer, or a short form producer. Because a lot of that is going to affect the sort of storytelling that you can have with them. So, that next step is stalk, romance, and get to know that person so that you’re a familiar entity by the time you get into their email inbox with a pitch. So, we know that so many journalists will have a crazy volume of pitches that come into their inbox.

Odette:

One quote that I had when I interviewed the ex-editor of Mumbrella, which is a marketing industry publication, and I said to her like, “What sort of tips would you have for people that are trying to get into your pages?” And she said, “Be aware about news cycle, because for every hour that I’m away from my inbox, my inbox gets to 100 plus emails. So, I’ll be on the second page of my inbox. So, if I come back to my inbox when I’ve been away for a while, then there’s a couple of hours worth of pages in my inbox that I’m never ever going to read.” It’ll just be what she reads from that point on.

Odette:

So, if you can become aware of what their cycle is, it means that your inbox, your email is going to hit their inbox at a time when they’re going to be receptive and actually catch it in the flurry of emails.

Pru:

That is a great tip, and so many there being and for the small business owners in particular, I think just choosing, choosing three, choose three outlets that you want to approach, or three people within those outlets that you want to approach. So it doesn’t become completely overwhelming, because I feel like we’re all short on time, small business owners, they’re doing all of the things. So, just put some blinkers on and narrow it down, and then really get to know that person or understand that person. I like it. What was it? Stalk, romance, and get to know them? Great tip.

Odette:

Yeah, and I think also just being mindful of reading back historically, as well. If that person wrote an article about business this week and about business marketing, then read back a couple of months through whatever you can find in an archive, so that you’ve got to know a theme that they like to write about. Because most journalists will have somewhat of a beat, which is like it sounds like really gross, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to bring that in here. So, they’ll have an area that they really specialize in. So, they generally know your subject matter just as well, if not better than you if you’re new to the industry.

Odette:

So, if they specialize in writing about marketing, then they know the ins and outs of it. So, be really aware that you’re not going to come in with this really surface level idea when you’re pitching to them that they’ve covered three months ago. You can generally find a lot of those articles archived online.

Pru:

Good one. Awesome. Okay. So, we’ve got number one is really understanding your outlet and number two, stalking, romancing, and getting to know the people that you’re approaching.

Odette:

Yeah, and then, it’s all about finding your key messages and your angles. So, they’re two different things that are really, really important. Your angles is basically coming up with a news headline that feels like it’s aligned with that outlet. So, often these are how to, or explanations of what a thing is, but also they’re about like big launches. They’re about key dates and they’re thematic. So, they might be seasonal, they might be around Mother’s Day, they might be about spring or winter coming. So, we try and uncover a couple of different avenues that we might take our conversation that makes sense to that outlet and they make sense for our business and what our expertise is.

Odette:

So, it’s like a puzzle where you’re piecing together the outlet’s agenda, your agenda, and then, something seasonal that’s going to make sense for them. So, I like to brainstorm hundreds of angles, but I’m going to say between three and five that you feel are really strong, that demonstrate a unique insight that you hold about the industry that you could share with them. Then, I would frame up two or three different key messages that really allow you to hammer home the most strategic communication that will benefit your business.

Odette:

So, you can have a free flowing interview where you talk about this and that and this and that, but you want to have a couple of responses within that that are going to strategically benefit your bottom line, or whatever your business agenda there is, and without making it gross. You know how a politician will say, “Well, Jenny, it’s interesting you bring that up and then talk about something completely unrelated.” You’re like, “Hang on. How did that happen?” You can do that in a much more natural sense in that you will bring a couple of the questions back to your core message, and it should be aligned to that outlet anyway.

Odette:

So, it won’t feel out of alignment when you bring it up. But that just means that beyond that three-minute micro moment of television coverage, or beyond that podcast that was beautiful storytelling, that people are going to be sticky to the thing that you need them to do, so that you have strategic benefit. And it’s not just a fleeting moment of press coverage that does nothing for your bottom line.

Pru:

Oh, so smart. I like that. Bring it home, land people where they need to go. Awesome. So, that’s four incredible tips. Have you got a cheeky fifth for us?

Odette:

Well, I guess just the other thing is, and I’m just going to give this as a complete other end of the spectrum, because there’s a couple of really useful things to get you started. But the one thing that’s going to set you apart from the pack and last beyond that one fleeting moment of coverage is to be an epically good human and be grateful for the opportunities that you have. So, when I was working with Women’s Fitness, I would say that one in eight people would respond and say thank you for the coverage that we published on them, which anyone that said thank you were then the absolute shoo in for the next time they pitched to me.

Odette:

But I like to go a little bit further. I always send a handwritten thank you card and a little tiny gift, a small thing that just lets that journalist know how important that was to me. Because that piece of coverage sometimes would generate $200, other times $200,000. You can have a great manner of impact from those opportunities. So, letting people know that you’re super thankful and giving them a personal shout out on your social media, and staying close to them. Because in the future, when they need an expert to comment on a topic, or they want to include a product in a Mother’s Day gift card, or a Christmas gift card, you’ll be on their radar. Because they’ll have that beautiful memory of how important it was both ways for that coverage.

Pru:

Amazing, and I think everything that you’ve said there with all of your tips and the discussion in general with PR and what it is, the thing that we forget is it’s human to human communication. It is a business owner talking to a journalist that were both humans. So, treating each other like we’re human as well and not just an asset to get me to where I want to go.

Odette:

Yeah, very much so. It’s all about being a bloody good human.

Pru:

They are bloody good human people. So, five great tips there is. Understanding your outlet, number two, was stalk, romance, and get to know the person, the journalist that you’re talking to. Number three, having some really key messages, some clear key messages, so that you can strategically direct the interview to where you want it to go, or the article. Number four, being clear on your angles and also timing those appropriately with what’s going on in general in the media landscape. Then, number five, being an epic human. So, some pretty nifty tips there, Odette. Thank you so much.

Odette:

Thank you for having me.

Pru:

My absolute pleasure. Now, of course, you do run the how to hack your own PR program, so give the listeners, tell us what it’s about.

Odette:

Well, it’s a nine-week live calls PR program, which teaches small business owners how to secure media coverage. It has everything from four theory sessions that walk through the practical elements of PR. There’s two live brainstorm calls. Then, we have two very epic guests. We have Katrina Blowers, who’s a Channel Seven News reporter, and we have Georgia Done, who is a field producer for The Project. Come and join us and share their insights about what it takes to get a story out with them. They’ll also give feedback on all of the angles and story ideas that our community has.

Odette:

So, the next one kicks off on the 7th of May, but I also run them quarterly. So, they’re small groups. It’s super intimate, and a lot of fun for me, and I think them.

Pru:

We hope them, too. Yeah, a lot of people come and go between OC and Odette and Co., and they’ve been getting some incredible results. So, finally, how can people get in touch?

Odette:

Best place is probably on Instagram, Odette and Co., all one word yes.

Pru:

Meet us there, Odette and Co., perfect. Well, Odette, thank you once again, I think it’s, yeah, an absolute untapped place of potential is PR, and I know that our listeners have got some juicy tips out of here. So, thank you so much for sharing your gold with us today.

Odette:

Thanks for having me.

 

 

Odette’s Top 5 Tips to Hack Your Own PR

1. Understand the outlet

The first thing is to read the paper, or watch the TV show, or listen to the podcast that you want to be featured in. The closer you understand the outlet, the better aligned your story is going to be. So that when a journalist opens their email, they go, “This person gets me, this story makes sense for my audiences. It’s going to feel like a natural fit.” Because if your story doesn’t feel like a natural fit, it’s going to sound exactly like an advertisement.

 

2. Stalk and romance

Choose three and then your job is to stalk the bejesus out of them online. So, in every format, so whether most journalists, like so many news journalists anyway will be on Twitter, a lot will be on LinkedIn, and some will have a public profile on Instagram. So, whatever platform it is, go there and get to know them on a personal level.

You don’t necessarily have to know their toothbrush routine, but it might be nice to observe whether they’ve got kids, whether they’ve got a dog, whether they always write health stories, whether they are at a long form producer, or a short form producer. Because a lot of that is going to affect the sort of storytelling that you can have with them. So, that next step is stalk, romance, and get to know that person so that you’re a familiar entity by the time you get into their email inbox with a pitch

 

3. Find your key messages and your angles.

So, they’re two different things that are really, really important. Your angles is basically coming up with a news headline that feels like it’s aligned with that outlet. So, often these are how to, or explanations of what a thing is, but also they’re about like big launches. They’re about key dates and they’re thematic. So, they might be seasonal, they might be around Mother’s Day, they might be about spring or winter coming. So, we try and uncover a couple of different avenues that we might take our conversation that makes sense to that outlet and they make sense for our business and what our expertise is.

So, it’s like a puzzle where you’re piecing together the outlet’s agenda, your agenda, and then, something seasonal that’s going to make sense for them. So, I like to brainstorm hundreds of angles, but I’m going to say between three and five that you feel are really strong, that demonstrate a unique insight that you hold about the industry that you could share with them. Then, I would frame up two or three different key messages that really allow you to hammer home the most strategic communication that will benefit your business.

 

4. Be an epic human

The one thing that’s going to set you apart from the pack and last beyond that one fleeting moment of coverage is to be an epically good human and be grateful for the opportunities that you have. So, when I was working with Women’s Fitness, I would say that one in eight people would respond and say thank you for the coverage that we published on them, which anyone that said thank you were then the absolute shoo in for the next time they pitched to me.

But I like to go a little bit further. I always send a handwritten thank you card and a little tiny gift, a small thing that just lets that journalist know how important that was to me. Because that piece of coverage sometimes would generate $200, other times $200,000. You can have a great manner of impact from those opportunities. So, letting people know that you’re super thankful and giving them a personal shout out on your social media, and staying close to them. Because in the future, when they need an expert to comment on a topic, or they want to include a product in a Mother’s Day gift card, or a Christmas gift card, you’ll be on their radar. Because they’ll have that beautiful memory of how important it was both ways for that coverage.

 

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