How to Get Your Next Publicity OpportunityRamon Ray
The media can be an incredibly useful resource for your business — providing opportunities to gain exposure, get in front of your target audience, drive traffic to your website, and connect with potential customers. Yet taking advantage of publicity opportunities often seems more easily said than done when you’re first starting a business.
True, getting publicity isn’t as simple as sending a press release and hoping a media outlet picks up your story. However, there are simple steps you can take to start small, build on your success, and eventually tap into larger outlets.
That’s the message from public relations professional Alee Opuiyo, founder of Dynamic Public Relations, based in Washington, D.C.
As a broadcast journalism graduate of Howard University, Opuiyo has been on the receiving end of media pitches and knows what it’s like to sift through poorly presented press releases to find a winning story — making her advice all the more relevant if you’re seeking publicity opportunities.
If you’re serious about getting more exposure via the press, Opuiyo’s tips will help you position yourself as an authority in your niche and grab the attention of your audience.
Start With the Basics
Oftentimes, people will come to Opuiyo wanting to utilize her services immediately upon starting their business. Not everyone is ready for a publicist, however, and Opuiyo is quick to advise that they hold off on writing her a check right off the bat. “I look at where they are and where they need to be [in order] to be ready for a publicist,” she says.
Typically, Opuiyo will advise startups to focus on their marketing, branding, logo, professional pictures, and other essentials. Once these assets are in place, it gives a publicist the tools they need to do their job on the client’s behalf.
Be Clear, Concise & Relevant
When pitching your story to media outlets, whether through a press release, a phone call, an email, or a text, the key is to make sure you are staying relevant with what’s currently going on in the news cycle.
Journalists have a job to do, and if your story doesn’t align with what they’re producing, they will likely pass on your story — no matter how fascinating your own products or services may be to you as the entrepreneur.
In addition, your message needs to be short and to the point. Convey in two or three sentences what you want to say about your brand; anything more than that, and you will quickly lose journalists’ attention.
Focus on Your Online Presence
Prior to reaching out to journalists, be sure to build your presence on social media and other online outlets, says Opuiyo. That’s especially true if your company is in a niche space where you have an opportunity to establish yourself as an authority.
Are you the local go-to plumber? Purveyor of the world’s best coffee warmers? Whatever your area of expertise, make it known on social media so you can build a following and engagement with your target audience. With that online presence in place, media outlets will be more receptive to your message when you are ready to pitch.
Start With Smaller Outlets
Don’t underestimate the power of smaller outlets when you’re first starting out, such as niche podcasts, publications, radio programs, and other lesser known outlets. It only takes one key person to see your content and want to engage further, Opuiyo notes.
Keep in mind, every single interview is important because it contributes to your portfolio of media engagement. The less popular outlets could just be the ticket to pitching major media outlets later on down the line.
When the time comes that you’re ready to retain a publicist, look for someone who will help you manage expectations and create a plan for success. They should be able to present a clear roadmap of how to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
So how do you know you’re ready for a publicist? “When you feel like you can’t do everything yourself,” says Opuiyo. “You have some momentum but have hit a plateau. That’s when you bring on a publicist to increase exposure.”
To learn more about Dynamic Public Relations, visit www.dynamicpublicrelations.com.