Modern PR: How To Get Press Coverage For Your Business | Brad Merrill | Skillshare

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Modern PR: How To Get Press Coverage For Your Business

teacher avatar Brad Merrill, Media Entrepreneur

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Course Intro - START HERE


    • 2.

      A Couple Of Caveats


    • 3.

      Before Starting A PR Initiative, Consider These Questions


    • 4.

      [Relationships] The First Secret Of Successful PR


    • 5.

      [Relationships] What Journalists Want


    • 6.

      [Relationships] What To Do If You Have No Pre-Existing Relationships


    • 7.

      Cold Outreach Intro


    • 8.

      [Cold Outreach] Which Journalists Should You Reach Out To?


    • 9.

      [Cold Outreach] Getting To Know The Reporters


    • 10.

      [Cold Outreach] Telling A Compelling Story


    • 11.

      [Cold Outreach] Making Your Story Newsworthy


    • 12.

      [Cold Outreach] Creating A Press Kit


    • 13.

      [Cold Outreach] The Pitch


    • 14.

      [Cold Outreach] How To Craft Perfect Subject Lines


    • 15.

      [Cold Outreach] A Secret Weapon To Help You Follow Up Like A Pro


    • 16.

      [Cold Outreach] What NOT To Do


    • 17.

      Cold Outreach Wrapup (With Examples)


    • 18.

      After The Pitch


    • 19.

      [After The Pitch] How To Handle Negative Publicity


    • 20.

      How To Make Reporters Come To You


    • 21.

      What Makes Reporters Cover Some Companies Over Others


    • 22.

      How To Make Yourself Accessible To Reporters


    • 23.

      How To Be Newsworthy


    • 24.

      Making Reporters Notice You


    • 25.

      A Secret Weapon To Help You Get Press Coverage In Record Time


    • 26.



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About This Class

This course is a complete roadmap to help you get your business featured in the press, from the perspective of a journalist who has given coverage to hundreds of entrepreneurs. The course covers everything from building and leveraging relationships with journalists to reaching out cold and nailing the pitch.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Brad Merrill

Media Entrepreneur


Brad Merrill is the CEO of Merrill Media, a modern holding company focused on building independent, scalable businesses at the intersection of technology and media. He is regarded as an expert in his field, teaching business and technology courses to more than 100,000 students and providing marketing training to a number of prominent startups and Fortune 500 companies.

Merrill considers himself a passionate creative: he loves creating articles, videos, websites, companies, workflows, and new ideas. He has been creating things on the web since 2007, working on dozens of projects and reaching tens of millions of people in the process.

In 2010, Merrill founded VentureBreak, which became a leading source of news about innovation for forward-thinking entrepreneurs, investo... See full profile

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1. Course Intro - START HERE: Hi there. My name is Brad. Meryl, I'm an entrepreneur and tech journalist, and I will be your instructor. I just want to take a second to thank you for joining me in this course. A lot of work has gone into it, and I hope I can provide you with as much value as possible before we begin. I'd like to talk for just a moment about what this course is and how it's structured. This is not an all inclusive education for PR professionals or anything like that. It's just a actionable roadmap designed to help you get press coverage for your company. You see, I spent the better part of the last decade working as a tech journalist. And let me tell you, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly When it comes to founders and entrepreneurs trying to get pressed, I've given coverage to hundreds of different companies, but I've also had to turn away thousands of others in this course. I explore the specific factors that go into a reporter's decision to write about a company , and I share with you everything I know from my own experience as well as that of my colleagues about what works and what doesn't. By the end of this, you should feel comfortable with the entire process of getting press, and you'll be able to plan and execute a PR initiative that gets you coverage in your favorite blog's, as well as a handful of mainstream publications. We'll start with an exercise to help you better articulate your company's story will discuss the importance of relationships and how you can build and leverage relationships with reporters. Then we'll dive into the cold outreach process, where you'll learn how to identify the best reporters to contact how to perfect your narrative and create a press kit. And finally, we'll tackle the best and worst practices for actually reaching out to reporters, and I'll provide examples to make sure everything is super clear toward the end. We'll talk about what to expect after the pitch and just in case will go over how to handle negative publicity. As we move through the lectures, I highly recommend that you take notes just to make sure you recall the important points when it comes time to put all of this into action. If you have any questions, I'm absolutely available to answer them, so please don't hesitate to ask 2. A Couple Of Caveats: before we dive into any specific principles or strategies, I want to share a couple of important caveats. First and foremost, PR can help to make a good company great, and it can help to make a great company excellent. But it cannot make a bad company good. The spotlight of press coverage amplifies the kind of business you're already running, so if you're running a great business, press coverage will amplify that greatness. But if you're running a business, that's not so great. For whatever reason, drawing attention to yourself may not be the best idea until you make some improvements. Unfortunately, no amount of marketing or PR can fix a bad company. Those issues just have to be addressed separately now. Obviously, that doesn't apply to most of us, but I just wanted to get that out there up front. The other thing I want to mention is that a good PR campaign is a lot of work. It really takes some hustle. There are no magic bullets in this course. It's just a step by step roadmap designed to help you get press. It's up to you to put in the work and to follow the steps If you do it right, you may find yourself spending the majority of your day every day for at least a week or two researching, sending emails to journalists, doing interviews and all that good stuff with that said, If your product and company are solid and if you're willing to put in the work, I fully expect that you'll be able to get a significant number of press mentions over the next month or so. So let's get into it, shall we? 3. Before Starting A PR Initiative, Consider These Questions: a good PR initiative isn't just about coverage. It's about building a narrative around your brand and really finding your place in the market. Before he reach out to any reporters, you'll want to be able to answer these questions. What are you? Why are you? What problem are you solving and how are you solving it? And why should people care? Let's go through these one by one and take a closer look. And just to give you an example, we'll pretend we're doing PR for Facebook. Obviously, Facebook is in a position where it doesn't need press coverage, but it's a company we all know and recognize. So it's perfect for this example. So what are you? This one's pretty simple. What is your company and what does it do? You've probably answered this 1 1000 times before, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Facebook is an online social networking service that allows users to keep up with their friends and family. Then we have. Why are you? Why does your company exist? What's your mission in the PR world? Why is actually more important than what people may not care about the underlying technology or features of your product, but they do care about the mission and what your product will empower them to do. For this one. Facebook's official mission statement works perfectly. Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. What problem are you solving and how are you solving it? What are the specific needs of your target market and what are you doing to fill those needs? So, for example, people want an effective way to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what's going on in the world and to share and express what matters to them. Facebook's platform allows users to do all of these things, and finally we have. Why should people care? What makes your story interesting enough to share? Why would readers be interested in reading a story about you? Or to put it another way, why would you be interested in reading a story about you? Facebook is changing the way we communicate and connecting people around the world in an unprecedented way. That's why people should care Now. Clearly, I'm not actually trying to do Facebook's PR, so I kept these answers pretty short pretty simple didn't give them a whole lot of thought . You'll definitely want to go deeper, which shouldn't be a problem, because you do know your company inside and out. Spend a good amount of time thinking about these questions and write down your answers. This exercise will help you better articulate your story. So you want to keep all of this in mind as we move forward. 4. [Relationships] The First Secret Of Successful PR: let me tell you a secret. When it comes to new companies and products, most journalists are far more likely to write about friends than strangers. You could argue there's an ethical conversation to be had there, but hey, it's the truth. That's why it's important to start cultivating relationships long before you need them. And when I say cultivating relationships, what I really mean is making friends. So how can you make friends with a journalist? Well, the same way you'd make friends with in England by being friendly and providing some kind of value with no expectation of return, right. But in this section will take a closer look at what journalists in particular want. 5. [Relationships] What Journalists Want: First of all, we want to tell stories. Unfortunately, the fact that your company exists is not a story in and of itself. As I mentioned earlier, your why is more important than your what? Keep that in mind. But let's go deeper. Not only do we want to tell stories, we want to tell stories that other people don't want told, every journalist wants to have their Bob Woodward moment where they expose the story that's not supposed to get out in the tech world. In Silicon Valley in particular, these will often be funding in acquisition stories Now. In the past, it was common to given exclusive story toe one particular journalist to form a bond and hopefully get some more coverage from that journalist in the future. But as much as I love a good exclusive, I don't recommend doing this today. It can lead to bad blood with other reporters because you didn't offer them the story. And unless you're sharing something that's gonna be a front pager in The New York Times, you're leaving lots of other opportunities on the table by only talking to one journalist. With that, said an exclusive could be a great tool for damage control. If you have big new spending, so your company's being acquired and you think press coverage might kill the deal and you have a journalist sniffing around, you can offer to give that journalist the exclusive. If they hold off on publishing until you're ready, generally they will defer to you and cooperate on how the news breaks. But if we're talking about a launch where you're just trying to get pressed for a new company or product on exclusive is typically a bad idea. With that said, you can still leverage the same principle to your advantage. If you can ethically leak an inside story about your industry, even if it has nothing to do with your company, you will be remembered in. The reporter will likely return the favor when you need coverage above all else, we as journalists want people to read our content, engage with it, share it and appreciate it. You can start building a solid relationship with any reporter simply by being a part of their community and consistently interacting with them. If you leave enough meaningful comments, share enough of their content and engage with them on social media, you will be noticed. I've actually made quite a few friends this way. Even if the reporter doesn't initiate any sort of contact, you'll be a familiar face when you reach out to pitch your company. 6. [Relationships] What To Do If You Have No Pre-Existing Relationships: if you need coverage, but don't have any pre existing relationships or time to form new ones, Ask around your network to see if you can get an introduction. Anything you can do to make cold outreach a little bit warmer will increase your chances of success. LinkedIn is great for this. Look around for second or even third degree connections and see if one of your mutual contacts can make an intro. If all else fails, the next section will cover everything you need to know about cold outreach. 7. Cold Outreach Intro: Sometimes pre existing relationships just aren't available, so you need to reach out cold. Even if you do know a couple of journalists, it's still a good idea to get in touch with as many others as you can to maximize your exposure in this section will go over what you need to know about pitching journalists without building up a relationship. First will cover finding the right reporters to contact, getting to know them, perfecting your narrative, putting together a press kit and going in for the pitch. There's a lot of information in this section, so we'll start by covering each component in detail and then, at the end will take a step back and wrap it all up into a more cohesive plan. 8. [Cold Outreach] Which Journalists Should You Reach Out To?: The first question we have to answer is, Which journalists should you reach out to? If you have a good understanding of your industry, you can probably name a few people you'd like to speak with. But it's generally not a good idea to go straight to the high profile journalists that everyone knows. And here's why. Ah, lot of times the first thing a reporter will want to see is what other people are saying about you. In other words, if I google you, what will I find? Social proof is extremely important even when it comes to getting press. But don't worry, you can work around this. Not all journalists are created equal. There is a hierarchy between publications and even between reporters at the same publication. I would suggest starting at the bottom of the totem pole. Look for relevant hobbyist blog's and small publications that are just starting out and then work your way up to the bigger guys. As you get some coverage under your belt. Now is a good time to mention that you need to be laser focused with who you reach out to. Don't just start firing off emails to everyone who covers anything vaguely related to your industry. If you're trying to get pressed for a company that makes cheese, for example, you'll want to contact a blogger who writes about cheese products, not one who writes about cooking utensils. I know it sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many people have tried to pitch me things totally outside the scope of what I write about. Earlier, we used Facebook as an example, so we'll do the same here. Facebook is a technology company, but it doesn't make sense to reach out to just any random tech blawg. We want to be extremely specific. So first will look for blog's that specifically cover social media. A simple Google search will help you find some candidates pretending for a moment that Facebook is a brand new product will win a narrow down our results by looking through the archives of each site to see if they cover that sort of thing. If a site only publishes tutorials about existing platforms, for example, we know right off the bat that they're not likely to write about our new product. But if we find a site that frequently covers new products and companies in the social media space. We know we found a potential match at this point, will look for a contact email address on the site and added to a list or spreadsheet. Do this with the small personal blog's in your industry and then move on to the mid tier multi author blocks for sites with multiple writers. It's a good idea to locate the email address of a specific writer. This can often be found below. Their articles are on their author page. You can also check the cites about page for a list of all the writers in their contact information. You can then do the same thing for larger industry specific blocks. Make sure the site is relevant. Find the contact info of a specific writer and added to your list. Now it's time to move on to the major publications. Thes often have a broader scope, so it's important to do your research and be very selective about which reporters you add to your list. If I'm Mark Zuckerberg and I'm about to launch Facebook, I'll probably want to get covered on TechCrunch. But TechCrunch has a lot of different writers, and we only want to contact one that's likely to write about us. Most big sites have different sections and categories you can use to view specific content . In the case of Facebook will want to take a look at the Social Media section on TechCrunch . From here, we can see which writers frequently you cover social media and determine which of them would be most interested in our story. Then we do the same thing. Check out their author page, locate their email address and added to our list. If you have trouble finding a reporter's email address, you may be able to find them on Twitter and say, Hey, I have something cool. I think you may be interested in what's a good email address to reach you. Most of the time, they'll be happy to give it to you. So do some research on the bloggers and reporters covering your industry, make a list of contact information and then make a plan to start from the bottom of the totem pole that is relevant personal blog's and small publications before working your way up to the big guys. How long of a list you make is totally up to you? It depends on the size of your industry and whether you're going for regional or global coverage. If you're running a local small business, a dozen or so reporters should be just fine. But if you're a global tech startup, I wouldn't stop anywhere less than 100 you may even want to go upwards of 500. It all comes down to how many people you want to reach. In most cases, I'd say the more the better. 9. [Cold Outreach] Getting To Know The Reporters: Once you've put together a list of reporters, it'll be really tempting to send out a single email blast toe all of them. Please resist that urge. A little personalization will go a long way when it comes to getting press for each reporter on your list. Start by reading everything they write, go through the archives and get a sense of their writing style, their personality and their interests. Follow them on Twitter to get a taste of their personal life, Familiarize yourself with their background. All of this will help you establish common ground and personalize your approach if you have time become a familiar face on their radar by sharing and interacting with their work, as we discussed in the last section, This is a very time consuming process, but it drives results, and that's the goal. 10. [Cold Outreach] Telling A Compelling Story: I mentioned in an earlier lecture that your company's existence doesn't necessarily warrant press coverage. This is important to understand. In most cases, you can't just show up and say Here I am and expect everybody to sing her praises. You need to create a narrative. In press terms, this is called the angle. Journalists are curator. Their job and the reason they're able to attract an audience is because they fill throughout all the junk and only share what's interesting. Don't just tell me what your product is. Tell me the story and the mission behind it. In other words, don't just tell me what? Tell me why. This is where the questions you answered earlier really come into play. A few months ago, I interviewed the founder of a company called Taxi Tap. Their app connects people to nearby taxi drivers, allowing them to summon a cabin pay right within the mobile app. If this sounds familiar to you, you're not alone on the user's side. The APP service, the exact same purpose as services like uber and lift. But David, the founder, didn't just tell me about the features of the app. He shared the narrative of helping traditional cab companies survive in a post uber world, something no one else is currently doing. That caught my interest, and it ended up being the basis of this story I wrote about him. Thank Bought another company I wrote about recently rights and sins hand written letters on behalf of businesses. I've actually covered similar services before. So the product itself wasn't all that newer interesting to me at first glance, but the founder managed to grab my attention with a heartfelt narrative about creating fulfilling jobs for people like her mom, who suffers from M s going back to Facebook. We would want to tell the story of how the company started in a dorm room at Harvard and how the site grew so quickly that it expanded toe other universities and eventually opened up to the public. We would want to emphasize the mission, which is giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected. I can't stress enough the importance of developing and narrative around your brand, even if you have a revolutionary product. If you want press, you need to wrap that product into a story that makes sense to publish 11. [Cold Outreach] Making Your Story Newsworthy: when you're developing a narrative around your brand, one component you can't afford to neglect is a news peg. This is what makes your story truly newsworthy. You can talk all day about your story in your mission, but some part of that narrative needs to be timely. The reporter needs to understand not only why people should care, but why people should care right now. Emerson College journalism professor Karla Valence defines it like this. A news peg is what makes the story timely or newsworthy. Now, for example, you could be working for months on a story about, say, increased cost of health care in Massachusetts. But your news peg might be a just announced hike in health insurance costs. It would be the element of the story that makes it timely and important now, the reason why you wouldn't wait two weeks to run this story. Another example. The endless array of movie stars who are guests on the late night shows. Those folks don't usually show up on those shows because they like to chat with Letterman or Cold Bare. They do it because you guessed it. They have a movie or project coming out that is the news peg for having them on the program , then the reason to do it and do it now, if you're launching a new company or product, the launch itself can be your news peg. But that doesn't really work if your product's been on the market for six months and you're just trying to generate some buzz in that case, you should try to connect your story with current events that relate to your industry or if your company recently landed a large investment or if you just hit an important milestone like 100,000 users, for example, you can use those metrics as your news peg as well. Whatever the case, it's always a good idea to make your story timely. 12. [Cold Outreach] Creating A Press Kit: before you pitch any reporters, there are a few materials you want to have on hand to make it as easy as possible for them to put a story together. This is called a press kit. It's up to you what you include in your press kit, but generally these air the necessities, a company overview logos, founder photos and product photos. Your company overview is a simple document that explains who you are and what you do. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. A PBF for a word doc with your company name, tag line and a description of what you do should suffice. Most journalists who write about you will want to use your logo in this story. Make it easy for them to do so by including a few different format options. PNG J. Peg Photo Shop, Adobe Illustrator Most reporters will be fine with a transparent PNG, but it doesn't hurt to provide those other options. Just in case. You can also include a couple of founder shots. These are normally only used if the founder is a central part of the narrative. But some reporters just like them for the human element, so it's nice to have the option. And, of course, you'll want to provide some nice, high rez visuals of your product. Be sure to include a few different images in multiple formats. If you're announcing big news, you may want to include a press release, but that's not really necessary. If you're just pitching a new company or product, turning these files into a press kit is as easy as throwing them into a folder and compressing that folder into a ZIP file. You can then send it over to interested journalists and make it available for download on your website. 13. [Cold Outreach] The Pitch: all right now it's time for the fun part. If you've collected a list of journalists, develop your narrative and created a press kit, you're ready to start contacting reporters. You'll want to do this in three waves, starting with the small personal blog's moving up to the industry sites and ending with the large mainstream publications. For the sake of social proof, don't move onto the next wave until you've gotten some coverage under your belt from the previous wave. Like I said earlier, try to resist the urge to send out a single male merged message to everyone on your list. Sending personalized individual messages takes a lot of time, but it yields much higher results. Here's the good news, though. The emails you'll be writing will be short and I mean really short. Journalists get hundreds, sometimes thousands, of emails a week asking for coverage. They don't have time to read every 500 word pitch that lands in their inbox. Keep your pitches shortest possible and grab the reporters attention with just a couple of sentences. Here's the basic template. I recommend introduction quick pitch called the Action. Your introduction should be 1 to 2 short sentences, letting them know who you are and establishing common ground. So, for example, if you've been following them, you can include that you're a fan of their blawg or enjoyed a particular post to theirs or something like that. But don't be disingenuous If you just discover this reporter this week. Don't pretend to be a long term reader. Your quick pitch really shouldn't exceed one sentence. We've created Blank, which matters because Blank briefly tell me what you're doing and why it matters. You're called. The action is a simple offer to send over a press kit or a sample. If you're interested, I'd love to send over more information or press kit or a sample or whatever. Let me know that's it. 3 to 5 sentences. I know it's tempting to send over everything you have right away, but trust me, that's the quickest way to get buried in a sea of other emails. Keep it short, sweet and to the point, and you will be golden. If you don't hear anything within a week, it's totally acceptable to send a single follow up message. But after that, you should assume they're not interested. If you keep emailing. You might annoy them or become background noise, and nobody wants that. Keep it to one initial email, plus one follow up and you'll be solid. 14. [Cold Outreach] How To Craft Perfect Subject Lines: one thing we didn't address in the previous lecture is the importance of subject lines. Obviously, with so many other pitches in a journalist in box, you'll want to do whatever you can to stand out and give yourself an edge. The subject line of your email is the perfect place to do that, and it's really the determining factor of whether your message gets opened or deleted. Subject lines are kind of a tough nut to crack, though there are thousands of different pieces of advice out there on the Web, and many of them contradict each other. So I'd like to offer my two cents, but feel free to put your own spin on it. Personally. I tend to respond to a very simple subject line that gives me a brief description of what I'll find in the email. I'm not a fan of hyperbole or Clickbait tactics, especially in my inbox. One thing I recommend doing is imagining the headline that will eventually be written about your company and using something similar for the subject of your email. Here's some examples. You should also Taylor the language of your subject line to the particular interests of the reporter. You're reaching out to some of my PR contacts, keeping super simple with subject lines like this Quick pitch a startup shaking up the self storage industry. The quick pitch element of this one is really important because it tells me without even opening the email, that it won't waste my time. And I appreciate that subject lines like your pitch itself should be a short as possible. Ah, lot of email clients will cut off the tail into the subject, so make sure to get your point across in the 1st 5 or six words, and don't go beyond 10 words unless you absolutely have to. 15. [Cold Outreach] A Secret Weapon To Help You Follow Up Like A Pro: to help you with follow up. I want to recommend a free tool that I personally use for business emails that allows me to see when the recipient opens my message. It's called Sidekick, and you can grab it. Get sidekick dot com Sidekick is a simple extension that works with Gmail and Outlook and tracks the activity around your communications. So when you send an email sidekick will automatically notify you when it's opened. This can give you a little more context to help you follow up at the most appropriate time . Now I have to warn you that even though it's very useful, it doesn't work perfectly. Ah, 100% of the time. That's because it works by inserting a tracking pixel into the email, and the notification is triggered when that pixel is loaded from the server. But some people have their email clients set up to hide images or display plain text only so you won't get a notification from those people. But in my experience, it works very well for the vast majority of recipients, and you should definitely be using it 16. [Cold Outreach] What NOT To Do: At this point, we've covered the essentials of what you need to do to get press coverage, and we'll wrap up the process in the next lecture. But for good measure, I'd like to take a moment to highlight a few things you should not do. And I'll warn you, I'm probably going to sound a little preachy in this lecture. But the goal here is to prevent you from making some very common mistakes. First of all, don't send a long pitch right away. Keep it short and grab the reporters attention first. I really can't stress this enough. Most journalists are up to their eyeballs and email, so the best thing you can do to make sure your pitch stands out is to keep it short and easy to digest. It's a little counterintuitive, but it works. Don't send out mass emails. Nothing turns a journalist off quite like an email sent to 1000 journalists at once. I won't pretend that it's 100% ineffective. I'm not here to lie to you. It may get you a couple of press mentions, but most serious reporters will scoff at you, and that's bad news for the future. because even if you do it right next time, they may remember you and turn you down. Sending personalized individual messages is a long process, and it takes a lot of work, but I promise you it is worth it. Don't add journalists to your mailing list without permission along the same lines as a mass email. You should never add journalists to a mailing list unless they've given you express consent to do so. That's called spam, and it happens a lot more than you might think. I get mail chimp emails almost daily for list that I've never signed up for. And when that happens, I do take note of the company that Senate, and I remember that they didn't respect my inbox, so I don't write about them. Also, click through the link in the bottom of the email to unsubscribe, and when I get that little survey from male chimp asking why I unsubscribed, I do report the list for emailing me without my permission. It may sound like I'm getting fired up over nothing here, but this happens so often that my inbox is almost unmanageable, and that means more time spent on email and less time spent on more important things. And I value my time, as does every other journalist. So please do keep that in mind. Don't be dishonest just to gain common ground. Pretty simple. Don't tell me that you've been reading my writing for years and then call me by the wrong name. Don't tell me what a big fan you are and then pitch me something I've never written about. If you just discovered me today, that's totally fine. Just be honest and say that. Don't follow up repeatedly again. You don't want to become background noise and you don't want to be annoying. So send your initial pitch. Follow up about a week later and if you still haven't heard anything, just cut your losses and call it a day. 17. Cold Outreach Wrapup (With Examples): Wow, once again, lots of information in this section. So to wrap up, let's quickly run through the cold outreach process, using Facebook as an example to fill in any gaps. So I'm Mark Zuckerberg. I built this cool social network called Facebook, and I need press, so I'll start by identifying the reporters who would be most likely to write about my new company. So we'll start a list and add any names and email addresses we already know. Then we'll start searching the Web using Google and any other resource we can think of to find blog's that cover social media. With each flog we find, we'll take a quick look at the archives to determine whether our story would be a good fit . And if so, we find an email address and added to the list for the larger blog's. In publications like TechCrunch in The Wall Street Journal, it's very important that we take the contact info of a specific writer that cover social media. We'll do this until we have at least 100 names and email addresses, and we may go for more than that because we really want to reach as many people as possible for each reporter will do a little bit of research to see what they usually write about and what their interests are will make a note about this on our list. At this point, we have our last chance to perfect our narrative. We need to make sure we have a compelling story to tell. Not just hey, we built this social network. Come use it. We need to be ready to share our mission and why people should care about what we're doing again. Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. And the platform is changing the way we communicate in connecting people around the world in an unprecedented way. The site started in a Harvard dorm room, and it quickly spread around campus before expanding toe other universities and eventually the world. That's our story at the most basic level. Next, we'll put together a press kit that includes a few high resolution logos, screenshots of the Facebook website, photos of Mark and a company overview. Well, zip up the folder and keep it handy to send over to reporters when they ask, We may also want to upload it to our website. So if anybody stumbles upon the site and says, Hey, I want to write a story about this they can go ahead and grab the press kit from there and finally will start reaching out. We'll start with the small personal blog's that cover social media and once we've gotten some coverage from them, will move on to the larger social media sites. After that will reach out to publications like TechCrunch in The Wall Street Journal, and each pitch will look something like this. Hi, Brad. I'm Mark from Facebook, and we're building a social network to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. It's really cool, and I'd love to give you early access and send over a press kit. If you're interested, let me know. Thanks, Mark. That's a really great pitch. It's simple, which is a must. The only thing that could make it better is a little personalization in the intro, but that will vary widely for each reporter and that's it. It really is that simple 18. After The Pitch: Once you've sent out 100 or so emails, the responses should start coming in and you'll get a dialogue going with a few reporters. The first thing you'll want to do is send your press kit over to anyone who asks for it. But for some journalists, that won't be enough. They want to make it a little more personal, ask you some questions directly and get more information and quotes for their story. How they do this varies from reported a reporter. Some will just shoot you some questions over email. Others will want to set up a call over the phone or on Skype. If you live in the same city as a particular reporter, they may want to do lunch or drinks, but that's pretty rare. Local TV and radio stations may have you come over to the studio, or they may just ask you to call in. Whatever the case, make sure you're available for an interview. In whatever format the journalists prefers. That's very important. When a journalist does a story about you, be kind. Be grateful and be careful not to burn any bridges if anything goes wrong. This isn't likely the last time you'll need press, so it's good to maintain positive relationships 19. [After The Pitch] How To Handle Negative Publicity: if you follow the advice in this course, you should be able to get a good number of favorable press mentions, and that's great. But no company is perfect in bad publicity can happen to the best of us. If a reporter writes a story that paints your company in a negative light, it's not the end of the world. But it's crucial that you handled the situation properly so you don't add fuel to the fire when you're dealing with bad press rule Number one is to stay calm, remove your emotions from the equation and assess the situation objectively. Most of the time, it's not nearly as bad as it seems. We live in a fast paced world where the news cycles are shorter than ever. So often the whole story will blow over and before gotten in no time. With that said, it's very important that you would listen. Negative publicity is often indicative of a problem in your business, whether that be management or customer service or anything else. Pay attention to what's being said in audit your company to see if you can make improvements. It's a normal human response to go into full defensive mode. But try to detach yourself and look at the situation as an outsider and then make changes accordingly. After a negative story is published, take a step back and determine whether it will realistically affect your sales or business relationships. If the publication is well known in red by your target market or if it's factually inaccurate, you may want to respond. If not, it's perfectly fine to stay quiet and let the story fade away. In fact, in some cases you may find that simply ignoring it is the best practice. If the story contains factual errors, you may want to reach out privately to the reporter. Most reputable publications will issue corrections if they find they published inaccurate information, so let them know what they got wrong with an honest, level headed explanation. Be careful not to attack them or air. Any personal grievances. Just strictly focus on correcting factual errors. So let's say there are no errors. But the story still casts a negative spotlight on your business, and it appears in a publication that your customers are likely to read. What do you do then? Well, you may want to respond publicly when you do this. Make sure you don't attack the reporter. Don't attack the publication. Just respond carefully in tactfully on your own blawg or social media accounts. Clarify the situation, make an apology, address the issues and let people know that you're taking care of them. This will help you avoid making enemies with any reporters. And in fact, a reasonable response to negative coverage may win you their respect. And most importantly, it'll show your customers that you can handle adversity in a respectable manner. 20. How To Make Reporters Come To You: So far, we've discussed how to build relationships with journalists and how to reach out cold. But you know, it's better than both of those having reporters come to you. This section is all about how to get coverage without preexisting relationships and without sending out pitches. I intentionally saved this for last because I don't want to give you the wrong idea and make you think that PR is a passive game. It's not. If you really want to be successful in getting press, you'll want to combine this section with a healthy dose of cold outreach as well. So with that in mind, let's go ahead and talk about how to make reporters come to you. 21. What Makes Reporters Cover Some Companies Over Others: I've never been a big fan of the whole build it, and they will come approach because it's often a little misleading. But sometimes it's true. If you could build something so remarkable and so game changing that reporters can't help but right about it, your PR will be an absolute breeze. Seth Godin has a great book on this topic called Purple Cow, and I'd like to read you a short excerpt from the beginning, he writes. When my family and I were driving through France a few years ago, we were enchanted by the hundreds of storybook cows grazing on picturesque pastures right next to the highway. For dozens of kilometers. We all gazed out the window, marveling about how beautiful everything Waas. Then within 20 minutes, we started ignoring the cows. The new cows were just like the old cows, and what once was amazing was now common. Worse than common. It was boring. Cows, after you've seen them for a while, are boring. They may be perfect cows, attractive cows, cows with great personalities. Cows lit my beautiful light, but they're still boring. A purple calvo. Now that would be interesting. That's the end of the passage from Purple Cow, and you can see where he's going with this. After a few years of writing about technology, things that were once interesting to me have become background noise because everyone is doing it. The startups that I actually find interesting enough to write about are those that a do something radically different from anything I've seen before, or B tell an interesting story that I've never heard before. Bonus points, if they do both, and actually the same thought process should take place, regardless of whether you're looking for press investors or customers. You can apply any number of analogies to this concept, but I really do like the way Seth Godin puts it, Don't be just another cow grazing on the pasture. Be a purple cow when you have a remarkable business. Journalists are not only more likely to write about you when you pitch them, but they're also more likely to reach out to you first. I can't tell you how many companies I've written about just because I thought they were cool after randomly stumbling onto them. Remember, there are plenty of journalists out there who write about new startups in your industry and they're actively looking for the next big thing. If you convey that next big thing, you've got a huge advantage in the PR game. 22. How To Make Yourself Accessible To Reporters: earlier, we talked about how to create a press kit, and I briefly mentioned that you may also want to include your press materials on your website. Now. I'd like to talk about that in a little more depth because it can help you get coverage from journalists who just happen to come across your site. It's a good idea to create a comprehensive press page where you can showcase your various PR assets, your company overview logos, founder photos, recent news and press releases and links to previous coverage. You'll also want to make your primary PR contact available on this page with at least a name and email address, preferably with a phone number as well. The benefits of this page are twofold. First, journalists who want to reach out for an interview can do so using the contact information you provide. But it also serves as an information portal for other bloggers and reporters who want to write a story about you or even just mentioned you peripherally in another story without doing a full interview. When calls and emails come in, be sure to answer them in a timely fashion because reporters are often subject to deadlines . And when someone writes about you, be sure to send them a thank you. Share the story on your social media channels and link to it from your press page. This is a simple way to give back, and they will appreciate it. The main take away I want to give you here is that you have to be accessible. The easier it is to cover your company, the more coverage your company will get. 23. How To Be Newsworthy: you can give yourself a huge advantage in the PR game by doing things that are inherently newsworthy that way, Reporters air inclined to write stories about you without the need for you to pitch them first. This is easier for some companies than others. If you're Elon Musk and you just lead the first commercial flight to the space station, everybody's gonna write about you because that's a big story with big implications. Obviously, we can't all operate on the scale of Space X, but the more newsworthy things your business does, the more press you're likely to get. This goes hand in hand with being remarkable or being a purple cow. Let's be honest, though. Most of us aren't lucky enough to work in a sexy industry like space travel. So how can we make ourselves newsworthy? One way is to pull a publicity stunt, which is basically some kind of planned event designed to attract public attention to your brand. It's definitely not for everyone, but when executed properly, a PR stunt could be a major driving force for your business. As an example, a local pizza restaurant could get global media attention for baking the world's largest pizza and breaking the world record. Here are a couple of real life examples of some great PR stunts that really paid off in 1999 half dot com managed to change the name of halfway Oregon toe half dot com Oregon for one year, which got the start up lots of mainstream media coverage, including a story in The New York Times. It costs the company over $100,000 to pull it off, but they were ultimately acquired by eBay shortly thereafter, so I would call that a win. Jelly Belly has famously generated a ton of buzz by producing outrageous jelly bean flavors like moldy cheese, barf pencil shavings and skunk spray. Somehow they actually get people to eat them, and the whole world talks about them. You can bet that stunt has made a significant impact on their bottom line. Another, more affordable way to be newsworthy is to create a piece of content that goes viral content. Marketing is a great investment for any company, but viral content in particular, has the potential to totally transform your business. It's like the PR stunt of the digital age, how to create content that goes viral is a little outside the scope of this course, but I would like to share one of my favorite examples Ah, YouTube video by the founder of Dollar Shave Club that brought in more than 12,000 new customers in the 1st 48 hours without any other marketing. Check it out. Hi, I'm Mike, founder of Dollar shave club dot com. What is Dollar Shave club dot com? Well, for a dollar a month, we sent high quality razors right to your door. Yeah, a dollar. Are the blades any good? Now our blades are great. Each razor has stainless steel blades and Allah Vera lubricating strip and a pivot head. It's so gentle, a toddler could use it. And do you like spending $20 a month on brand name razors? 19. Go to Roger Federer. I'm good at tennis. Do you think your razor needs a vibrating handle? A flashlight, a back scratcher and 10 blades? Your handsome ask grandfather had one blade and polio looking good. Pop up. Stop paying for shave. Take. You don't need and stop forgetting by your blades. Every month. 100 are gonna shipping. Right? Teoh, We're not just selling razors were also making new jobs. 100. What were you doing last month? Not working. What are you doing now? Waking. I'm no Vanderbilt, but this train makes hey to stop forgetting to buy your blades every month and start deciding where you're going to stack all those dollar bills I'm saving you. We're dollar Shave club dot com and the party is on. Okay, that video is awesome. And believe it or not, it has been the primary driver of Dollar Shave Club's growth for years. They took a big risk dropping that F bomb in an official commercial, but it totally paid off. In July of 2016 just five years after the company was founded, Dollar Shave Club was acquired for $1 billion and that video played a huge role in its success. Finally, if PR stunts and viral videos aren't really your style, you can get a good amount of press coverage by hosting a conference or meet up. This is a great way to draw attention to your brand while also building real relationships with people in your industry, including potential customers. And on top of that, it's newsworthy. So it's a great way to get some media attention under your belt 24. Making Reporters Notice You: If you want reporters to notice your company, make sure they confined your product where they're already looking. We already talked about social proof in the context of pitching smaller blog's first, but I'd also encourage you to put yourself out there with platforms like Product Hunt and read it if you're in the text face. Product hunt in particular, is amazing not only for reaching customers, but for getting press. Many of the world's top tech journalists are constantly scouring product hunt for the next big Thing so they can write about it. If you don't work in tech, look around the Web for your industries equivalent and make sure you can be found there. 25. A Secret Weapon To Help You Get Press Coverage In Record Time: congratulations. At this point, you've made it through the meat of the course, and you should feel comfortable with the entire process of getting press. But before we wrap up, I want to share with you a secret weapon that will help you get press coverage in record time. It's called Help a Reporter out. You may have heard of it. It's an amazing platform that connects journalists with sources. So as a reporter, if I'm working on a story, I can go to help a reporter out and post what's called a source request, which is then emailed to a large number of potential sources. As one of those sources, if you're knowledgeable about the topic I'm covering, you can reply to my request with information to help me with my story. If I decide to quote you or otherwise, use your information, you and potentially your company will also appear in my story. Now it won't be an entire feature about you, and this is by no means a replacement for a proper outreach campaign. But it can still bring you ah, lot of value, even if you're only mentioned briefly. Being cited as an expert is a great way to build trust and social proof for yourself and your business. Beyond that, you're building relationships with the journalist you're helping. And as we discussed earlier, those relationships could prove to be highly valuable down the line. Some of the sources I've met from Help a reporter out have become close friends of mine, so that's pretty cool. Help. A reporter out is used by journalists from many different media outlets, including Reuters, Time Mashable, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, ABC and more. So clearly it's not a bad idea to give it a try. The basic version of the service is completely free. You consign up it, help a reporter dot com. It's an amazing resource that I've used myself many times, and I highly recommend that you check it out 26. Wrapup: Congratulations. You've now completed the course and you are ready to score some press coverage before we go . I just want to thank you one more time for joining me. And if you have any questions, please let me know and I'll be happy to help you out. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed the course. And I wish the best of luck to you and your business.