One of the best ways to become known as the expert in your field is to write articles on topics of your expertise and regularly send these out to targeted databases showcasing tips that you know best. Seems simple enough, but so many just don’t do it. And because of that, they are missing out on major opportunities, clients, and most important of all, exposure for their business.
Articles are known to inform and educate. These can be especially beneficial when changes are made that people need to be aware of. And in business that happens frequently. People then look to you for guidance on topics when new changes happen and you become the hero always having the answer. This can be especially beneficial as well when you know something a little “ahead” of others and can share this information and prepare your audience for these changes. They will feel all the more confident that you have their backs time and time again.
So absolutely, write on new and upcoming topics and wear that hero’s cape. However, don’t just write articles on new things that are happening. Write articles on what you do daily in your business. To you it might seem like the same ole’ same ole, but to others it can be just the information they are seeking. And when they do a Google search and you routinely come up with what they need, guess what, they will want to do business with you. They have the confidence they need to know you are the one. Plus, get active on social media and try and get your fans to follow you so when you update information, you share it there and they can share as well with their audiences, thus getting you even more exposure.
I personally love top tips articles…say for example, 5 ways to get more PR for your business or 5 ways to build your brand. Write these articles with the following guidelines:
- Awesome engaging title
- First paragraph that describes the article and clearly grabs the attention of your audience
- A list of tips bulleted or numbered (such as the 5 ways to get PR for your business. You are listing them here with detailed information on each tip.
- Closing paragraph that wraps it all up
- Bio – shows your website, contact, media mentions and also any links to programs you have
What is especially great is when you pitch out these informative articles is oftentimes a publication will run the entire article. So consider this, instead of a publication adding a sentence or two with your quote, the entire article is written by you and every tip is yours. That is prime real estate, baby! It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it’s magical. Expert tip: Be sure to thank those you ran your article. It builds solid relationships and good will. You will be the first one they think of when the need for a quote arises.
But to send it out to the media, you need to create a pitch. I usually send pitches / articles out via email. The reason for the pitch to accompany the article is so they need to know why they would be interested in that article and who you are. So let’s break down the pitch. The pitch will go on top of the article (in the email) and again lead into the article. The pitch consists of a killer subject line that will have those who receive it, want to open it and know more. Also, I often include the word “article” with the name of the article in the subject line. This allows those who receive it to know what to expect. Make sure the subject line is not too long. You want it to appear in the email’s subject line space and not run over. (Example: Article – 5 Ways to Build your Brand)
- The opening paragraph packs a punch with facts or statistics and newsworthy points on the topic you are writing on.
- Then add in language such as “how the author of the article addresses these issues in her latest article,” name the article, and say “here are her tips.” (ex.: Diana Ennen addresses these issues in her latest article, 5 Ways to Build Your Brand.)
- After that, add one line to say what the tips are (5 tips to increase your brand include:) followed by bullet points that convey what is in the article and the tip summarization.
Now, you are not putting all the information in from the article into the pitch, but more the heading and one or two sentences to support it without keeping it from being too long.
- Follow this with information on you which clearly stating your media mentions, etc.
- Be sure to close with an action paragraph telling your audience exactly what you want them to do. (Ex. We would welcome the running of this article, the opportunity to send you additional articles, or an interview.
- Add a closing with complete contact information and a photo of you.
- And then add in your P.S. if they would like to be removed, please let us know and we will promptly do so.
And there you go, you have a pitch and article ready to pitch out to targeted databases. Now you just need to compile a listing of databases and send it out. We use Cision to create our databases, but there are others out there as well. Be sure to treat your databases like gold, because well … they are.
(Want to see an example of a pitch with an expert article – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to provide it.)
Here are additional tips to make it work.
Use a Consistent Format – Use the same format for pitches. It can take time to get the magic formula for a pitch. But once you do, use that same pitch and only customize it for the article or pitch you are sending. Those who receive it will become familiar with your style and pay more attention to you as they have that relationship. This is especially beneficial if they have accepted your articles in the past.
Add Media Mentions – One great way to prove your expertise is to add your recent media mentions to the article’s bio and also to the pitch. In the beginning you might not have a great deal of media to add to your articles, pitch, but as you gain more, be sure to add those to your bio in the article and the pitch itself. If you have TV coverage, say so. Remember these people might not know you yet, so you need to show them why you are the expert and that you have the media to back it up. (Ex: Diana Ennen has been featured in Forbes, Inc. Radio, Fox News, Women’s World, USA Today, CNN, Wall Street Journal, and many more.)
Address the Right Audience / Time of Day– Be sure to use the appropriate language. If you are sending out to TV you don’t want to say “your readers.” Seems simple enough, but you wouldn’t believe how many pitches I see with this mistake. When in doubt, use “your audience.” That works like a charm every time. Also, be mindful when you send the pitch. If you are using Good Morning or Good Afternoon, you don’t want to be sending it out at the wrong time. Even though there are different times zones, I normally use the one I’m in.
Make it Easy to Be Removed From Your Database – Add a P.S. that states something along the lines of “If you’d like to be removed from our database, please let us know and we will do so promptly.” Then make sure you do. Nothing gives you a bigger black eye than someone asking to be removed and you keep sending to them. Not as big of mistake as the Oscars naming the wrong best picture, but still not good.
Learn What Works – When you don’t receive a response to a good pitch, take the time to figure out why. Was it not timely? Was it not on a good topic? Was the information not unique enough and too mainstream and said before? What can you do better for more success next time? Note sometimes it just boils down to nothing you did, it just didn’t work. The good news though is that rarely do you get two in a row that don’t work. On the same token, when a pitch gets awesome results, do the same thing. What contributed to its success? Why do you think major media picked it up? What can you continue to do to see these results more often? This always leads to better media coverage in the future.
Research topics – Honestly this seems so basic but you truly have no idea how important it is. It’s not just about the latest and greatest articles and advice out there – it’s about why it matters. It’s critical to research topics of interest and find the ones that are most newsworthy, on topic, game-changing, time-sensitive, and something you or your clients are experts on. The easiest way to do this is to just do internet searches on topics of interest you feel would be good and then type in big publications (such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., etc.) in the search field. This allows you to see headline topics and with that information you can dig deeper. Now combine that expertise with what the media might be interested in and bamm – you have a winner. Now if a publication just ran an article, it’s doubtful they will do another so soon. However, this can show you that there is an interest on it and also you can target other publications on those topics. Also, you might discover that publications write frequently on similar topics so that opens up doors for you as well.
Relationship building – Now this isn’t only building relationships with the media. It’s just as important to build relationships with your clients. Know their voice, their strengths, their subject in and out, etc. Many of my clients have been with me for years. Because of that, I honestly can say I know them well and know what would work and what wouldn’t. Of course, there are those times it might not. But in general it works that way. So when hiring a PR pro, be sure that you want to take the long haul with them. Sending out one or two pitches isn’t going to get the traction you need to get your name and brand out there. Also, with the media build solid relationships by going over and above for them time and time again
These tips should help you build your brand and exposure. Not only will you start showing up on internet searches more, but you will find more and more editors coming back to you as the expert. And remember, you can always hire an expert who specializes in this for additional help.