This article is by Neil Sheth, the founder of Your Brand Found - an agency helping people boost their online presence and reach more of their target audience.
After reading a PR Strategy guide, I decided to take PR into my own hands early September.
- Out of respect for the journalist’s personal info and time I’ve removed their names
- I’ve included a bunch of images of the messages to help you implement this.
Here’s what I did…
Firstly, I thought about the type of publications I wanted to secure and made a list of them. Entrepreneur and Business Insider were at the top of my list. I studied these sites and looked at the titles and angles of content, which helped me to get into the right mindset. Then, I made a list of unique stories or opinions I can share that journalists and publications would be interested in. I landed on the idea of writing a piece on how working for Goldman Sachs has helped me to grow a business as I knew...
- The topic is unique and content has an interesting angle
- Working at Goldman Sachs gives an author immediate credibility
- The topic would resonate with their audience
I went ahead and wrote the piece, staying within the content guidelines for Entrepreneur who was the first publication I actually pitched this article to. Once I had drafted the post, I had one of our senior copywriters review and edit it. She focused on flow and getting the tone of voice to fit the publication and even added a nice little surprise at the end, “once you’ve got that nailed, you’re Goldmans - sorry, golden”, which brought a major smile to my face (followed by mic drop GIPHY on slack).
Happy with the piece, I wrote to Entrepreneur and pitched the article. If you write for Entrepreneur or generally other major publications then chances are you cannot use the same article, so I wanted to make sure they weren’t going to use it before pitching it elsewhere.
2 weeks went by and I didn’t hear back...
I put plan B into action - Business Insider.
Thinking about it now, I think this piece was a better fit for Business Insider. I found quite a few Goldman Sachs related articles on the site and just felt that my piece was a better fit for their audience. But, rather than pitch the article, I did something different. I got someone on the inside to help me.
I reached out to a Business Insider journalist who wrote about similar topics on Twitter and sent a DM asking for advice on how to pitch the article. Surprisingly, within a few hours, she messaged me asking me to email the article across. I believe the key ingredient here was the fact that I was pitching an idea that she was already interested in and was asking for her advice.
I emailed the article and immediately she introduced me to someone in the team. Ecstatic, I waited to hear back…But, it never came.
Rather than hassling this new person I didn’t know, I thought I’d go back to my “business insider” (get it!) who I felt had taken it on herself to help and again asked for her advice. She then emailed someone more senior who then took responsibility and communicated with me during the process.
To give you an idea of timing, from being introduced to this person to having the piece published on Business Insider took around 1 month.
There were times when I didn’t think the article would get published as I hadn’t heard back from them but I politely asked for an update and checked if they needed any further information.
When Business Insider sent across a contract I knew I was very close. A few back and forths later, the article was finally published. You can check it out here.
Whilst the piece is stuck behind a paywall it does give me the ability to use the Business Insider badge for credibility and most importantly I can use the piece to pitch to other publications (I’ve not forgotten about Entrepreneur.com and have a better topic idea) or even for speaking.
It doesn’t end there.
Build relationships with gifts. Who knows what topics might come up where they need an opinion or a piece written. So, I offered both of my Business Insider journo friends a gift as a small thank you.
I felt a bit awkward asking for their home address so instead, I asked for their office address, knowing they would give me their home address. For those who don’t have a Business Insider membership, here’s a link to Google Docs version.
Hope this helps you smash your PR!
If you are interested in finding out more on how to build your brand and attract customers online, check out my new YouTube channel.