By Rachel Olsen
Although DIY PR may feel uncomfortable at first, it is a smart + cost-effective way for small businesses to gain credibility. Perhaps, you just need to look at it from a different angle.
Do you cringe at the thought of self-promotion?
Do you have a case of “imposter syndrome,” a psychological phenomenon in which you are unable to internalize your accomplishments?
Why do we undervalue what we provide and overvalue what someone else does, always comparing ourselves and not feeling like we are at the holy grail of *accomplishment?*
Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic.
When it comes time to tooting your own horn, it may feel unnatural because you don’t internally feel you are where you should, could or would be. Psst. You are not alone!
In reality, it is not likely the way others view you. Seriously, cut yourself some slack.
When reaching out to the media, you have to stand out over all the other pitches they are receiving.
If you are feeling frozen in your seat right now, I get it. Just the thought of reaching out and figuring out what to say can feel overwhelming … especially when you are unknown.
When I reached out to Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank to endorse my book about publicity; I thought my chance of getting any response was maybe 7 percent. So, you can imagine my excitement (my mind was blown) when she said YES!
What made Barbara, a well-known investor and reality star, respond to a complete stranger like me in only one email?
Here are the three essential items I addressed in my email to her and how you can do the same when reaching out to the media:
1. Tied my purpose to a bigger cause.
“My mission is to raise the profile of mom entrepreneurs who are trying to solve a problem and be present for their family. This book will be an opportunity for the mompreneurs to gain exposure and promote their businesses and provide readers insight on how to receive 3rd party validation through media.”
2. Outlined the benefits to her specifically … showing I’ve done my research and thought through why it would appeal to her.
- Supporting your association with Ava the Elephant and helping Tiffany on her mission of educating entrepreneurs (Barbara invested in Tiffany who I interviewed in my book, so there is a connection and a vested interest)
- Good PR – Being recognized for supporting the mom entrepreneur community
- Reach – already partnered with Shark Tank blogs and other media outlets to promote
- Opportunity to promote your Skillshare course on “pitching” since the book will be based around PR skills
3. Showed humor, authenticity, and credibility.
I know you don’t know me so this request could sound like I’m asking you to get married before a first date. Yikes! I know deep down this could be a successful union. In my previous career, I was Larry Ellison, Founder & CEO, Oracle Corporation’s handler and more recently worked for a Google Executive. I’ve been in Marketing and PR for almost 20 years.
While getting Barbara was a huge coup, it didn’t make book sales go through the roof. It did provide credibility, and that is exactly what getting media does.
The best way you can take away the ick factor when approaching media is to change your mindset.
If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
If you have a product based business, you’ll need that credibility when approaching retailers. They want to know where you’ve been featured, what YOU are doing to create product awareness. It is not their job to market your product; it is yours.
If you are selling on your website, you’ll need to associate your product with the brand's customers trust. Having the logo’s and a “Featured In” section on the homepage will provide recognition.
Instead of thinking of pitching as promoting yourself, think about the value or solution you are providing. It will take the focus away from you and spotlight the reason you created your product or service.
Focus on answering these questions by telling a story.
- Why did you create your business? Bring the passion and emotion here. This is your unique selling proposition and opportunity to be authentic which will create a connection.
- What problem are you solving?
- Why is important today? Does it fit into one of these categories: newsworthy, trend, expert opinion, national conversation?
Reporters always need sources for articles, so there are thousands of opportunities for you. The need is constant. Once they write about the newest, hottest, hippest XYZ … that story is done, complete, passe. Onto the next.
And yes, that does apply to when they write about you, too. Once you are “Featured In” one specific publication, it is time for you to move on. It’s mutual unless you fall into the expert opinion category.
Have confidence. Go out there and land yourself some media coverage. You can do it!
Have you scored some awesome media coverage? What PR tips and strategies do have for reaching out to the media? Drop us a note we'd love to hear from you!
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Rachel Olsen is the author of Shark Tank MOMpreneurs Take a Bite Out of Publicity, + Founder, Best Mom Products.
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