In the world of PR, landing client coverage in publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg Businessweek is the ultimate win — and when that story runs in print, it’s icing on the cake. You probably know that securing coverage in a business publication is no easy feat, especially if you work with startups. So, here are some of my top tips for working with business press.
Give them something unique.
Don’t rely on basic corporate announcements or product launches. The best story for business press is completely unique and interesting to a broad audience. Is your client developing a new product within a budding industry? Support your pitch with examples of other companies in the ecosystem, ideally complementary versus competitive, to give it more weight and demonstrate the broader impact (e.g., The Future of Remote Work Feels Like Teleportation). Got a cool customer story? Consider testing the story on your friends first to see if it’s actually cool. Improving ROI by X percent is great, but business reporters are more interested in how people are using technology in unique and unprecedented ways (e.g., The Red Cross Is Using Text Messaging To Take Down Ebola).
Focus on relationship building.
Understanding that it’s not every day your client’s technology is being used to save the world (sigh), it often helps to approach business press from more of a relationship building perspective, without the pressure or expectation of immediate coverage. After getting your client’s buy-in, start the relationship building process by inviting the reporter to lunch or drinks with the company’s CEO (a new, trendy restaurant always helps!). Still give them all the elements that would make for a good story, but also make sure the reporter understands how your client can be a resource, and that the CEO is prepared to talk about the broader industry landscape in addition to his or her own company. Reporters value relationships that are mutually beneficial. They also value direct access, so when it makes sense, have the CEO send the follow-up note. It will go a long way!
Be prepared. (And patient!)
Once the reporter expresses interest in actually writing a story, congratulations — you’re halfway there! At this point in the process, they’re going to want executive and customer interviews, hands-on product demos, etc. – anything that will help them bring life to the story. So, be prepared to pull together all of the elements they need, and in a timely fashion. If your story isn’t time sensitive, it can easily get lost amidst a slew of other news assignments, so it’s on you to keep the ball rolling. That said, also keep in mind that this could, and likely will, be a long process – months long. After all, the best stories don’t happen overnight! With business press, be prepared and be patient, and make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep the opportunity alive.
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