After years of going to new business pitches, participating in new client kick-off meetings and even chatting through our weekly check-in meetings with clients, one question almost always pops up: “How do we get into top business and trade publications?” While some PR people might shy away from this question, I personally love it. In fact, I welcome it. We should absolutely know how to get our clients into whatever dream publication they want. But, as is with most good things, there’s a catch – we need all of the ingredients to do it.
What are the key ingredients that make this possible?
- A customer the reporter can speak to who can tell an ROI-driven story of how your client is helping them grow their business
- A top-tier analyst who can talk about your client’s industry landscape and how they match up against others in the space
- A partner who can discuss how collaborating with your client has positively impacted their business
- An influencer in your client’s space who can dive into details about the broader industry
You see, reporters have metrics too. They get asked weekly to report how many views they got on their articles from the previous week. Often their stories are driven by what topics get them the most clicks. And likely, the stories that tell a more holistic story are the most popular among their readers.
In my experience, reporters love when we can deliver a packaged story. In fact, any time your client comes to you with an idea or, better yet, you think of that idea on your own, you should consider a 2:1 ratio. That is, for every top business or trade reporter you’re pitching on behalf of your client, you should have two third-parties to offer as well. Whether that’s a customer and analyst, or an industry influencer or partner to your client. Whatever you have at your disposal, the more times you can offer not only a conversation with your client but with a customer and/or analyst too, the more success you’ll have.
This also means setting expectations with your client about what you’ll need in order to increase your chances of secured interest. I’m a big believer in listening to each client request and coming back with a positive response. For example, your client’s dream publication is FORTUNE. First, do some digging into what FORTUNE reporters are writing on. What themes and patterns do you see? Which reporters do you identify as the right targets for your client’s story?
Once you gather that information, next develop a recommendation for your client. It should include what you found in your research as well as what you’ll need in order to craft a compelling story. 1) A customer who can offer a vendor-neutral point of view on the technology (or product) and how it’s benefitting their business and 2) an analyst from a top tier firm who can comment on the broader landscape. Providing this counsel will not only show that you truly know your stuff, but it will also realistically let the client know what you need in order to pitch their dream publication and achieve that coverage goal.
I love a good challenge when it comes to media pitching. And, usually, those obstacles can be overcome once you have a packaged story. I suspect that with a 2:1 ratio, you’ll find more success checking off that dream publication from your (and your client’s!) list.