Google. Facebook. Yahoo! These are the giants that so often demand the attention and set the agendas of business press. But coverage in The Wall Street Journals, Forbes, Business Insiders and Fortunes of the world are achievable for companies of all sizes – startup or mature, public or private. And the seemingly unknowable rhyme and reason for getting covered in business press isn’t as enigmatic as it seems.
There are many formulas and approaches to achieving that level of coverage, and in this post, I’ll break down a few my team has successfully used for those high-impact, ever-sought-after business press hits this year.
Understanding what’s business press worthy and what’s not – and unearthing those stories from clients is an art that a PR professional develops over time. This Business Insider article was a matter of that. A brief mention in a local blog, where client SteelHouse’s $2,000 vacation stipend was referenced, immediately struck me as PR gold. I mean, how many companies offer this? The story was begging to be told. It was totally unique – a perfect vehicle for CEO branding and hook for a reporter focused on culture. It’s not a story the client came to us wanting to tell, but one that we found and ran with. And it went completely viral – with mentions on radio shows around the country, Good Morning America, lifestyle press like Woman’s Day and other business outlets.
Relationships with business press are some of the hardest to establish, but once they’re made, the payoff is endless. After a soft introduction of our client Benefitfocus months ago, a New York Times reporter came back when the time was right, asking for sources for a relevant story she was working on. An interview took place, and the client was quoted in a story on a very strategic topic to Benefitfocus’ business. While the initial pitch didn’t result in an immediate story, it established a relationship – and sometimes that is what will get clients into some of the highest profile industry stories.
Why try to fit into a story that already exists when you can craft your own? Authoritative data allows PR professionals to do just that, defining trends or uncovering something “new.” Using interesting stats around the U.S. rental market, including the increase of occupancy rates and rental prices, we broke in with U.S. News & World Report. Knowing business press often have a larger and wider audience in mind, we built a storyline on top of those stats with insight into how these trends may affect consumers as well as the landlord/property management business. U.S. News bit, resulting in the client being quoted not just on occupancy rates and rental prices, but also on his off the cuff knowledge around the future of rental amenities.
At SHIFT, we take pride in our data-driven approach. Why? Because it produces results. Our strong integration with marketing technology resulted in this business press hit in CNBC. We’d often stressed the importance of looking to Google Analytics to help inform the PR program, and our client heard us loud and clear. When a CNBC reporter downloaded their annual report on the State of Employee Benefits, they notified us immediately. We reached out to the reporter to make the introduction and ask if she had any questions. Once our client was on her radar, we followed up diligently, offering numerous hooks, and ultimately secured an interview around their most strategic topic.
Sometimes, it’s a matter of knowing the different sections in business outlets and making a match when a client has something relevant. To do this, there’s no substitute for consuming – reading print newspapers/magazines, watching broadcast to figure out which shows cover what, etc. To break into business press, you don’t always need a full story for high exposure and impact, as demonstrated by these two USA Today Snapshots secured with a single survey. Both appeared in print, on the front page of USA Today’s Money section.
Business press is more than achievable with the right mix of relationships and understanding of what columns, sections and beats these outlets have as well as creativity and partnership with a client to find the right story to fit a company into them.