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3 Strategies to Land Big Press If You Are Not a Purple Cow

In today's media world, no brands are unfit for coverage.

By
This story appears in the September 2021 issue of Start Up.

Does your company deserve press?

Many business owners say no. I run a PR agency, and entrepreneurs often tell me they believe their brand is too small, too fresh, or in some way unfit for coverage. But that’s not their real problem — instead, they just don’t know how to sell their expertise.

Here are three scenarios that any thought leader or personal brand can use to successfully pitch media.

Related: 3 Ways to Get Free Publicity and Media Mentions for Your Business

1.  Name what you see.

Have you spotted a trend? Give it a name.

This is a simple but powerful way to establish your authority. Things are always floating in the cultural ether as big groups of people have similar experiences — and when a professional gives a trend a name, they pull it into the public awareness. When people began quitting their jobs during the pandemic, for example, Texas A&M University professor Anthony Klotz gained widespread recognition for calling it “the Great Resignation”—a term the media now uses regularly. Don’t just make up a trend, though. You’re better off scouring the internet for new studies, which often do the job of identifying new phenomena and validating your ideas. At my agency, we utilize this strategy often. For example, after the first round of pandemic-related lockdowns in 2020, we worked with a client to identify common new issues in romantic relationships, from lovers who were forced to split to couples who were rushed into commitment. We gave these things names, paired them with some research we found, and successfully pitched them to a range of online publications.

Related: Positive Publicity Boosts Your Startup's Chance for Success

2  Hijack events.

Big media events that involve celebrities, household names, and international movie releases are guaranteed to get news coverage. That’s an opportunity for you to jump in and provide your professional expertise, which writers may use as they cover these events. Publicists call this technique “news hijacking.”

To do this right, you must move fast. Build a list of writers or publications ahead of time, and be ready to hit them with your comment as soon as you see a big story surfacing. Earlier this year, for example, the world buzzed about Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Writers and editors were looking for new angles to cover it. In a situation like this, you could identify prominent topics from the interview, such as bullying, privacy, and mental health, and then add your professional expertise to send to writers you know are most likely covering the story.

Related: Brand Activism: Turning Your Purpose Into Action

3  Curate content.

As an expert in your industry, you likely know about important things that journalists do not. You can save those journalists hours of research by offering them an overview of trends, discoveries, or even different leaders in your field. In turn, they may quote you in a story or invite you to write for their publication.

Doing this requires objectivity, as well as honest and inclusive writing. Editors have a nose for information or “takes” that seem biased or overly self-promotional, and they’ll want to know that the information you’re providing isn’t agenda-driven.

For example, my agency represents an online school that teaches breath work. We saw that health-focused publications were starting to write about breath work, so we had our client put together an honest review of all the options available on the market—­and a major magazine published it. We consider this a triple win: The audience gets curated content, the magazine gets to provide well-rounded objective information to its readers, and the expert gets exposure to a huge audience.

Natasha Zo

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Natasha Zo is a former journalist turned international media relations specialist. As a founder of a boutique PR agency, she is on a mission to amplify messages of conscious leaders through earned media. She helped launch Amazon bestsellers, booked national TV, and over 400 podcast interviews.