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How to make it easy for journalists to feature your small business

Coverage by a major media organisation or popular blog can seriously boost sales and brand awareness, but in my experience many small businesses are missing out on coverage because writers just can’t find the information they need.

Here are nine things you can do to make it as easy as possible.


1. Have a clear about page
What does your company actually do?

That’s the main question anyone coming to your website will be wondering, buzz words such as ‘accelerator,’ ‘algorithm’ and ‘cloud platform’ have no place here.

Yes, some writers wanting to cover your business will be tech specialists and want to know these details, but many others won’t be, and will be put off if they can’t even understand the basics of what your business does.

Your about page should *at least* answer these questions, in simple language:

What does your company do?
How does it make money (if it does)?
When did it start?
Who runs the company and how many employees are there?
Where is the company run from, or where do most of the team members work from?

 

2. Have an email address
This may sound obvious but filling out a contact form is beyond annoying as you can’t chase up on the email if no one replies and you don’t have a record of what you sent.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tweeted a small business or entrepreneur to ask for their email address because it’s not listed anywhere – not ideal.

Related article: How to effectively market your work without DMing anyone

 

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3. Have high res images available with descriptive captions
Any journalist covering you is going to need these unless they are arranging a shoot with you, bloggers will usually shoot their own images, but might need some of yours too.

Make it easy for everyone by having a dropbox folder with clearly labelled jpeg images in folders such as: ‘Product Shots’ ‘Photos of Phoebe Parke, CEO’ or ‘Event images’ that you can send the journalist a link to.

Important information to have in the description of each of these images:
What’s happening in the picture
Who or what are we seeing in the picture
Where it was taken
Who took the picture (image credit)
When it was taken

For example
GOOD: The brand new CoolBeauty eyeshadow palette on display at the flagship store in Oxford Street. This product retails at £459, is available in store and online and is made with diamond particles. Image: Phoebe Parke.jpeg

BAD: IMG_24.png

 

4. Be available for interview
There’s nothing worse than pitching a story or planning to cover a brand, getting all the images and information together, and then you can’t get any quotes.

If you’re busy it’s totally OK to ask someone to send questions over for you to answer via email or say that you can only spend 20 minutes on a call, just be available for some kind of comment.

If you’re away or really really busy, why not have quotes ready in advance?

You can absolutely predict what a writer is going to ask you; it usually goes a little something like this;
When and why did you start the business?
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start the same kind of business today?
What do you think about (insert recent industry controversy here)?
How has (insert recent industry development here) affected your business?
What’s the next step for the company?

 

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5. Make previous coverage readily available
Writers like to read around a company and see how other publications have covered it before deciding on their own angle. Make this easy for them with a ‘press’ tab on your website.

 

6. Have updated and well-curated social media profiles
I for one love to embed Instagram images and relevant tweets into my pieces, and a well-curated social media feed will tell a journalist about the latest updates from your company such as awards, new releases and celebrity endorsements.

 

7. Be transparent
Vagueness is annoying and makes people think you’re hiding something.

If 50% of your proceeds go to a charity, name the charity and include a link to it. If you’re an award-winning restaurant, name the award you won and the year and include a link to it. If all your ingredients are produced in the UK, name each ingredient and where exactly it’s made and include a link to that supplier.

I think you get the idea.

Part of being transparent is actually giving the writer what they ask for; if I ask you for image captions please give me image captions. If I ask you for 6 images, please don’t send 20, if I ask you for something by 5pm, please either send it to me by 5pm or tell me you won’t be able to do that. Otherwise I’m waiting around for an email that never comes, when I could be eating a burger from Five Guys.

 

A photo by Tim Arterbury. unsplash.com/photos/VkwRmha1_tI

 

8. Have a website that’s easy to navigate
Fancy arty websites usually look good but don’t give us the information we need.

Tabs should be easy to find, the text should be easy to read, images should be clear, everything that looks like it should be clicked should go somewhere, I shouldn’t need Adobe Flash player to access your website, and if I click on the Facebook icon on a company website it should take me to that company’s Facebook page.

 

9. Respond to emails
If a writer has to wait 10 days to get a reply every time they email you, the story is not going to be written.

If there’s a reason that you don’t want coverage at that time (you have no stock/you think the publication isn’t a good fit/you’re changing what your business does) then just let the writer know.

 

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Once you’ve been featured:

1. Look out for the article and share it widely
I always tag companies when posting an article I’ve written about them on social media – few repost or even respond.

2. Continue to showcase the article way after it’s been published
Just because a publication or blog featured you a month ago, doesn’t mean all of your audience saw it. Feel free to repost press coverage – use #tbt if you have to and include it in any newsletters you already have.

3. Tag the writer in your posts
I mean, who doesn’t love people sharing their work? A simple acknowledgment of the writer’s efforts will usually result in them sharing with their network.

4. Make sure you have stock
You have once chance to make a good first impression on the publication’s auidence – don’t let it be a ‘sold out’ notice.

 

Further reading (and listening)
BOSS UP SERIES: Handling Your Own PR – My Taught You podcast 

How To Get Press for Your Startup: The Complete Guide – StartUp Grind 

 

Want to see something else I created? Take a look at my T-Shirts.

“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” – Proverbs 19:1

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