Whether you're looking to have that recent wedding published in The Knot magazine or you're aiming to score an expert interview on your local radio station, know this: Landing press placements require strategy. Take it from us. At The Knot, our editors see 1000s of pitches every week -- from real weddings to venue openings and hot runway hairstyles. And when it comes to landing press for The Knot, our PR team is constantly pitching and managing relationships with all the top producers and reporters across the country. In all our experience receiving pitches and pitching ourselves, we have learned a thing or two about what it takes to land a press placement. If you want press for your business (no matter what publication or station you're pitching), there are some common knowledge truths among editors and producers that you have to know. Here are nine to get you started.
1. You Have to Be Able to Articulate What Makes You An Expert
In one or two sentences, you have to be able to explain what it is that you do and why that's unique. Editors see 1000s of pitches land in their inbox every week -- from celebrity hairstylists to brand spokespersons, bloggers and the list goes on. That's why it's so important for them to be able to easily understand your mission and expertise.
How To Make It Happen: Define what it is that makes you and/or your business so unique. (Ask yourself these branding questions to get you started.) Then write it out in a sentence or two. Bounce it off of your team or a partner to make sure that your expert point of view is clear and easy to understand. For example, for a custom catering company, it's not "We're a catering company serving the Los Angeles area." Instead, it's "We're a catering company that specializes in designing custom menus for couples that tell their story because we believe that wedding food should be as unique as our clients."
2. Understanding Exactly Who Covers Your Beat Is Crucial
It's not enough to know exactly where you want to be published. You have to dig deeper and actually do your research to find out who (as in the name of the person) actually writes the articles or produces the segment that you want to pitch. That way, when you go to pitch them a story, you'll be able to take a more personalized approach.
How to Make It Happen: Research online, talk to friends or ask around. For The Knot magazine, look in the masthead of the magazine or note the names of the writers in the magazine. Follow them on social media. (Hint: Following editors and writers on social means you'll have front-row access to what they're working on since many of them will share it with their followers.)
3. Editors and Producers are More Likely To Consider You If You Pitch Them In The Way They Would Like to Be Pitched
This one is incredibly important for the weddings industry. Every wedding publication has its own system for taking in wedding pitches. And so even if you follow an editor or writer on social media, don't assume that messaging them or emailing them your pitch is the best way to have it considered. Follow the publication's submission guidelines. Try to circumvent the process outlined and your email or pitch is likely to get lost in the shuffle.
How To Make It Happen: At The Knot, we make it super simple -- go to TwoBrightLights.com/TheKnot to upload photos and list out the wedding professionals involved -- to submit and have your weddings considered for print and online features.
4. Wedding Pros Who Get A Lot of Press Typically Have Real Relationships with Reporters and Producers
While you should follow the submission guidelines and understand how each producer and editor prefers to be pitched, investing in building a real relationship with the press is the very best way to ensure you are considered for publication.
How To Make It Happen: Treat your relationship with press like you would anyone else you want to get to know better. Follow them on social media. Comment on their posts and engage with them. If you happen to be in town ask to stop by their office for a meeting. Don't be discouraged if you don't get them engaging back with you right away. Everyone is different and it takes time.
5. Mass Pitch Emails Rarely (If Ever) Work
Personalized real relationships lead to positive results with editors and producers. So don't expect to receive any replies back from a pitch that looks like it could have been sent to a large group of editors or publications. Publications want to have exclusive content and if you send an email that looks like it could have been meant for their competitor, they're unlikely to consider it.
How to Make It Happen: Be intentional with your pitches. Make it clear from the beginning who you're pitching by mentioning the publication by name and the editor or writer's name. Even better if you can mention the name of the column or segment that you think it would be most appropriate for.
6. Including a Photo or Video In Your Pitch Increases Your Chance of Getting Featured
Content is incredibly visual. Think about it: Every story you see online in a magazine or on TV comes with at least one if not multiple images. So if you have a photo or video to help illustrate your pitch, you are more likely to pique the interest of a reporter or producer.
How To Make It Happen: When you pitch your story, include "(photos attached)" in your subject line or in the first sentence of your email. Obviously if you're pitching a real wedding, then follow the submission guidelines. (Hint: Include as many detail photos from the wedding as possible and cut back on the couples' shots.)
7. Landing a Press Placement Often Takes Longer Than You'd Expect
This one definitely depends on the publication but in general for print, editorial teams work months in advance of their deadlines. And even if the turnaround time doesn't take more than a couple weeks (as might be the case for a TV segment or radio interview), you still have to factor in all the time it takes to invest with a particular press outlet or publication. In summary: press doesn't just happen overnight.
How To Make It Happen: Be patient. Spend time studying your target press outlets to truly understand how their process works.
8. The Easier You Are To Work With The More Likely You Are To Get Featured Again
This one might sound a little odd at first read but ask any editor, writer or producer and they'll tell you that half of their job is being able to find and work with reliable sources and experts.
How to Make It Happen: If and when you do hear from someone in the press, and assuming you want the feature, treat the request with urgency. Ask them about their deadline and make sure you get in whatever it is that they're looking for in a timely manner. And if you really want to ensure you get more coverage down the line, be helpful. Offer to find more experts or introduce them to others who might be able to help them with their story or segment.
9. You Have To PR Your PR
Landing a feature should just be the very beginning of the PR cycle for you. Once your feature airs or is published, that's when you should take over. Spreading the word to all of your friends and family and followers on social media and touting the placement on your website will help ensure that not only others see the great placement but that future publications and outlets see you as even more of an expert.
How To Make It Happen: Time it right. Find out when you'll be featured and schedule out social media posts to align with those dates. And stay active and engaging with your followers by thanking them for their support. Reinforcing your PR is the key to creating more of it!