Grow your brand through coverage in magazines and newspapers.
Creating a buzz around your business using traditional means as well as social media is a great way to grow your brand. And at this time of year, you’re probably planning your 2021 and how you can utilise those assets.
But if you’re looking at businesses just like yours getting featured in magazines and you’re wondering ‘how do they do it?’ – fear not, I’m going to walk you through the process.
The temptation might be to throw everything at it – share all your thoughts and feelings and pitch to hundreds of media titles to try and get a bite.
But the best way to grow your brand authentically?
With consistency, planning and a clear brand image.
Here are the 5 things you need to do before you pitch your story for publication.
1) Find your story
A story and a product promotion are not the same. Many magazines have product placement places, but you will find they are favourable to the brands which support them with advertising. If you want coverage in terms of a story about you then, well, you need to have a story.
So what is yours? Start thinking about your journey up to this point – what about you or your experiences could help people? Editors always have their readers in mind; they want content that is going to uplift, inspire, advise. I see so many businesses pitch ‘I have a product, do a story on me’ – that’s not how it works. Find your story (or stories).
2) Find the right audience
If you’re a baker based in Fife who delivers within a 50-mile radius, there is absolutely no point whatsoever pitching to a newspaper in Cumbria. If you’re an accountant writing about the best tax breaks businesses can make, do you really think it would be used in a magazine all about hair?
As the Americans say (because it rhymes when they pronounce it), the riches are in the niches. WHO is it you want to reach? WHO is your content for?
3) Find the right person
Once you have a clear idea of what your ideal customer is reading, start reading it! Support is a two-way street and if you want the help of the media, you need to help it too. Publications are businesses. If people don’t read, engage with, buy or advertise, the business folds.
Get to know your chosen publication really well – who is it aimed at? How often does it print? What sections does it have? Where would you fit into it?
Then start engaging with its journalists and find the right one for your story. I will tell you this because we’re all friends here – blanket emailing everyone on the team is a sure-fire way to get your pitch sent to trash. Journalists are really, really busy. Don’t waste their time by sending your email to everyone – they might start working on it, unaware that their colleague is too.
4) Get good imagery
If you want to be featured in a magazine, then image is everything. We can’t use low-res, ‘I took this on my iPhone’ images on high-quality, glossy magazine paper. Invest in photography and it will pay off dividends. You don’t need to spend a lot and you will get a bank of decent images – both lifestyle and product if you need – to use across media, social media, your website, client materials… I could go on.
5) Give it plenty of time
If you’re pitching Christmas content to a magazine in November, you’ve missed the boat by miles. Magazines are planned and produced months in advance. That Christmas issue you see on the shelves in November? The planning cycle started in July.
Newspapers and websites have a better turnaround, because they are quicker to produce. But you still need to give fair warning. Teams are really small, so pitching an article about your event on the evening before your event is a big no-no.
Sit down at the start of the year and go through your calendar and think about where you could factor in media coverage. Then, get it planned! The more notice you can give, the better.