Three ways to get coverage without using a Press Release

The press release has become a PR tool so routinely used in day-to-day activities by communication professionals that its usefulness is rarely put into question. Many of my clients take a press release for granted and see it as a tool that makes my PR services tangible. My observation, however, is that in most cases, the press release is not the most important medium to get in touch with media.

There have been many discussions about this topic, such as Mike Butcher’s recent claim that the press release is dead. I will not discuss here how to write the perfect press release since it is well explained in Butcher’s post. However, I will name other ways to land a story without utilising a press release.

Unless you are announcing big funding rounds, financial results, company acquisitions or big company updates (which, let’s be honest, happens maybe once a year for very successful companies), your news can be reduced to a couple of impactful sentences.

Here are some tactics and situations where getting media attention and even getting coverage did not require to lose 5 hours of your precious time writing and clearing a press release:

  • Market Insights

A tech reporter from Die Welt mentioned to me that very often he doesn’t find press releases coming from startups as useful as being pitched insightful comments from the founder on current and future market trends. He receives on average 20 press releases a day and only picks up the ones coming from bigger companies.

Don’t open your email with an endless pitch, get to the point and write down in 4-5 sentences what is going on. Adapt your pitch to your contact’s focus and beat. Make sure your facts and figures are supported with sources.

  • Case Studies

Media and their readers, especially in B2B press, are keen in receiving case studies and best practices tips from specific industries and customers. Chose a campaign in which you succeeded well, or one highlighting how a customer enjoyed your product or service, leading to business efficiency. Frame the context and pitch the story on the basis of an exclusive. Accompany your case with high resolution pictures.

  • Newsjacking

Newsjacking is a very helpful way to help clients give opinion or guidance on a topical news issue. For example, you may be a company offering a web plugin for end consumers to encrypt their IP-address. What input and expert analysis can you deliver on the banning of VPNs in certain countries of the world? In this context, your client’s opinion will demonstrate to the media that they know the market and issues well. This could result in the media coming back to you in the future as a reliable industry commentator.

By Flora Petersen



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Three ways to get coverage without using a Press Release

5 things to consider when seeking US press coverage

Every day each one of us receives hundreds (if not thousands) of messages. Whether it’s an advertisement on the subway, a post on Facebook, or an article on the front page of The New York Times, messages are being delivered to us on a regular basis.

One of the challenges we face is cutting through this noise long enough to decipher what’s valuable and what’s not. This is especially true for brands looking to secure the interest of U.S. media. With journalists’ inboxes already overflowing with new businesses and endless story ideas, the competition to have your message heard is undoubtedly fierce.

With this in mind, here are five things your company should consider when seeking out US press coverage:

  1. Beats are incredibly niche.

When browsing the ideal press outlets where you wish to see coverage, keep in mind that each reporter has a particular beat to cover. Some reporters might write at the intersection of technology and pop culture, but that doesn’t mean your tech wearable will be the right fit.

As the U.S. media landscape continues to become increasingly crowded, beats will be refined and narrowed. It’s important to think beyond your product’s industry, and to your target audience. Once you’ve identified who your target audience is, you’ll have a better understanding of what press you can land and which reporter will be interested in your product.

2. Get straight to the point.

To put this more matter-of-factly, your PR pitch is not your sales pitch. When it comes to pitching your product to the press, less is more in terms of the language and facts you use to communicate your product.

It is important to keep in mind what your core messages are and not dwell on unnecessary details. This rings true for any press materials or thought leadership pieces you send to media. Clear and concise content will get to the point faster. A journalist will appreciate a couple of succinct sentences more than having to pick out the important facts hidden in a two-page press release.

3. Quality and quantity differs based on the vertical.

Depending upon which industry your product or service is in, there is a different set of standards for what is considered a top-tier publication. More specifically, a top-tier publication for a startup in the health sector may be entirely different than a startup in the travel space. Aiming for a certain number of publications and their value will be solely dependent upon the goals your company has for an announcement, as well as your target audience.

4. Know your news value.

As discussed earlier, the U.S. is faced with crowded news cycles and agendas. Editorial calendars are usually planned months in advance and only high-quality news can break through that planned agenda. When you’re prepping for an announcement, it’s important to remember that more pressing news will always take priority.

To help set your own expectations for coverage, it’s important to keep in mind what value your news will bring to the current cycle and understand which publications will be interested in your news. Top-tier publications are highly selective and will always have a longer lead time.

5. Bring something new to the table.

Journalists are always looking for interesting news stories and particularly ones that can provide insights on a topic area that hasn’t been covered. Delving into your company’s data or uncovering a new trend you’re noticing in your industry will be a highly valuable resource for a reporter.

In order to become newsworthy, be prepared to reach into some of the untapped areas of your business to see what expert commentary you can provide to a larger news trend.

By Samantha Dickson



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5 things to consider when seeking US press coverage

How Branded Content is Changing Journalism

It goes without saying – in the 2015 media landscape, content is king. The days when an entire country was reading just a handful of publications to get their news and entertainment are gone. Now, in addition to skimming the investigative long form story on the New York Times homepage, consumers are flitting through interactive quizzes on Buzzfeed and the latest viral video from Coca-Cola posted on Facebook. The line is blurred – popular content no longer just originates from the journalism school grad. It can come from anyone.

The fact that brands can, and are, some of the world’s most prolific content creators isn’t exactly new. Brands have always been associating themselves with the mass media in an effort to ingratiate themselves with a target demographic. Proctor and Gamble for example was the inventor of the radio soap opera back in the 1930s, in an effort to subconsciously reach the bored housewife – a partnership that extended up until the cancellation of As The World Turns in 2009, the last P&G sponsored soap.

But with the advent of the internet it has become easier than ever for brands to start producing their own content. From native advertising to thought leadership there is a content marketing solution for every company depending on how much time and creativity they are willing to expel in the name of ingratiating themselves with consumers.

This proliferation of branded content has made the public relation professional’s role of capturing native coverage all the more critical for brands. With publications turning to branded content to bolster their digital revenues, and brands jumping on the opportunity to publish their own content on widely recognized platforms, the space for organic coverage of exciting new companies shrinks. After all, why would a journalist write about you for free when his publication can get paid for you to write about yourself?

This is where public relations matters more than ever – media relations professionals are able to leverage relationships and build story angles that journalists will deem worthy of organic coverage. Simultaneously, the modern PR-person takes on the responsibility of honing their client’s branded content to be both on-message and engaging to a broader audience. In the same way that companies and publications have brought their distinct realms together through branded content, so too has the PR industry had to adapt beyond media relations. Today’s PR agency houses a team of content creators capable of producing stories that can authentically promote clients within the news trends of the day.

Journalism sure has changed thanks to the continued rise of branded content, but rest assured – the PR world is changing right along side it.

by Tess VandenDolder


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How Branded Content is Changing Journalism