7 Tips for Free Publicity

Did you know that 9 out of 10 press releases are thrown away without ever being read? These figures show that it isn’t easy to gain press coverage. How do you make sure your story will make the headlines? The following tips can help you.

1.        Avoid promotion

Publicity isn’t the same as promotion. It’s about telling a story that’s interesting for a journalist. People don’t care about bragging or shameless promotion. Most journalists are allergic to it.

2.       Research the medium

Whatever you do, avoid sending a standard press release to a complete media list. Editors receive far to often stories that don’t fit their medium. Researching the channel upfront increases the chance of publication.

3.       Research the journalist

Although a lot of news mediums use online forms for people to pitch their story, it’s better to look for a direct email address to make sure your email ends up in the right email inbox. In this way you avoid that your email ends up in the bin without ever being read.

Pro tip: When you can’t find the name of a journalist you can also look for a specific department, like economics. You can also look for articles on the website of the news medium to find out what topic a journalist focuses on.

4.       Involve the journalist

When you send out an email, add a personal note that the specific journalist can appreciate. Keep it short. About 1 or 2 sentences is enough. Explain why your story is interesting for the journalist as well as the medium.

5.       Create a media list

When you want to approach news outlets in the future it’s useful to create an overview of all editors and journalist per news medium. The next time you can see instantly by whom you can pitch your story. This saves you a lot of time!

6.       Timing is key

Never pitch old news. Take into account what time of day you can best pitch your story to a journalist. The morning is the best time when you pitch to a medium that covers daily news. When you, for example, pitch a story to a monthly magazine, it’s important to take into account that they, on average, work three to four months ahead. When summer is over, magazines start with Christmas stories.

7.        Don’t give up without a fight

Don’t be discouraged when your story won’t make the cut. It sometimes can help to make a phone call. Then, you’ll find out why your story is interesting or not. You can learn from it for the next time. Look at it as a game that you keep getting better at.