UnNoticed Entrepreneur - public relations for business

When pitching to Bloomberg these are the steps that you will want to take to get into the news

January 25, 2022 Jim James
UnNoticed Entrepreneur - public relations for business
When pitching to Bloomberg these are the steps that you will want to take to get into the news
Show Notes Transcript

New clients ring up and expect to get a coverage straight away. However, securing media coverage may seem fast and easy, but there are lots and lots of back-end work that you need to know so you don't pitch unprepared to the media.

In this episode, I'm just going to give you some guidelines on how long it takes to get coverage, some of the processes that take place inside a PR firm before and during the pitching, how to identify your target media, and some tips to #getnoticed by these media.

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Jim James:

Hello, and welcome to this episode of The UnNoticed Show with me, Jim James. And today I'd like to talk about how long it can take to get media coverage and the, the need for patience, and the gaining of momentum over time. So on today's episode, I'm just going to give you some guidelines on how long it takes to get coverage. Because, especially new clients ring up and expect to get coverage straight away. So I thought I'd just explain some of the processes that take place inside a PR firm or inside your own department if you want to get some media coverage. So I'm doing this because just recently last month we took on a, a client from China, and they are very, very keen to get noticed within the first month. And I thought I'd just explained for everybody how long this can really take. So let's say that, first day you have appointed an agency or even you have appointed someone in-house to do the work for you. They may or may not have some media contacts. In fact, we have media contacts. But there's a whole amount of work that needs to take place before they can reach out to the media on your behalf. So they'll just take you through some of those items that may seem like a delay to you, but all the necessary items for a PR company, or your internal marketing manager, to get to grips with before they can go out and engage with the media. So, first of all, what we have to look out for our client is do they have what we call their 'media kit information' ready? And in a media kit, we've got a number of different items. We have, for example, the photography of the founder or the spokesperson. Do we have a logo already? Now, often do say I've got that and they guide you to LinkedIn. But the LinkedIn file resolution is small and often the logo vector size is not right. So we need to have a proper photograph about the one megabyte file minimum. And we want to have the, um, vector file of the logo so that it can be scaled according to the application. And we need that picture in black and white and in color, of course. So that's just the pictures. Then, if you've got any B roll video, for example. Is that available? Often clients don't have it, but if they do, often it is not somewhere accessible to the outside world. Sometimes it's on YouTube, sometimes it's sitting on someone's computer. So we need to get that and start to load that into a platform like Vimeo, where the media around the world could see that content. Next then we need to start with a few pieces of housekeeping. Number one, we need the bio, we need the biography of the person who's going to be the spokesperson often that is the founder. Sometimes it could be, for example, the CTO, the product manager. So if it's you, you need to write down your bio. Now that's different to your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn profile can be sort of job this, job that. But a PR bio is who you are, but also what are your key talking points and what's your credibility for doing that? It's only three paragraphs, not long at all. And then equipments of your education or your particular role, depending on how late you are in your career. So we need your bio. Then we need the company background. So we need the history of the company. We need a chronology, when the company was started, for example, when the first product was developed and delivered, when something was trademarked, when the first office overseas was opened, or when the first customer was signed. So we need as much detail around the company's history as absolutely possible, because that helps us to create some context. The next thing we need is then some summary of what you're doing the products, the services. Now often on the website, customers will have really very sales oriented copy. This is what we do, this is why you need it, and you could buy it here and so on. That is a sales copy, but we need PR copy. We need more factual information. We don't need any hyperbole, we don't need any adjectives, particularly. What we need is facts. We need the target audience you serve, the technology behind the product. We need the functionality. We need the tech. Specs if there are any, for example. So the facts of the matter around the product or service that you're offering. Because these are the different elements we're going to be sending to the media. So, this is just the background information. So we've got your photographs, your video, we've got your bio, and we've got your history, and we've got your product data sheets. That's all good and well. And then what we need to do is to start look at the messaging. And this is often where the time really comes in. Many people as entrepreneurs start a business and then it moves it. So certain clients in one way, it says other markets in another. Some of it's productized neatly. Some of it is an extension of an existing product. Some is an iteration of an existing software and so on. So companies don't move in a linear fashion. They move side to side forward, backward and so on. This narrative makes it very hard for a journalist to understand what it is you're really saying. So we have to work on a key message. And often this comes down to the vision of the company. What is the company setting out to do? And for who? And why? And when? But sometimes that's articulated on the website and sometimes it's not. So we need to spend a little bit of time on the message and making sure that's articulated clearly. And then what we have is a message home. And underneath that we have three supporting messages. Normally one is a product message, one is a company message, and one is an environment message. So on a product message, for example, it could say this is our product. Under the company, it says, this is our company. And under the environment or the context is, this is, this is the market that we serve. And underneath those we need proof points. So each of those assertions, if you like, need to be backed up with some facts. It's not enough to say we make the fastest or the best or the slowest or the meanest or the highest. The journalists are used to that all day, every day. What we need to do is to have facts of how fast, how slow, how high, and so on. Because these all help the journalist to have a story, which is concrete. And in turn for the PR firm, we have to have this because we know the journalist will not take our pick seriously. Unless we've got that data behind the pitch. So, this is what we have to do. We have to get the message home together with the messaging. And that as you can tell may take quite a little bit of time. Often about a month, in fact, for a company to get all this material together. Once we've got all these materials together. Then what we need to do is, we need to go and shortlist the key media that are going to be most relevant for that company. So for your client, or your company? You've got some key media, some key journalists, or could be for example, trade association that you really need to talk to. Now, the PR firm will probably have relationships with these media already. If they don't, then you may want to think about finding a PR firm that does have those contacts. And in fact, by large people engage in agency because they do have those relationships already. But 9 times out of 10, an agency will need to build a media list and it's going to have some new journalists in it. They may know the journalist from other media, or they may know that publishers have publications in, in their stable, for example, in their portfolio, and they have another publication that fits what you need. But the PR firm needs to go out and build that list and needs to then start profiling. And this is the key part, they need to start profiling which stories and which articles that media has been running that matched the profile of what you want to say. In the SPEAK PR program that I coach, I talk about how content is king, but context is queen. It's not enough to talk about what you want to do. What's important is how what you do serves the current market. So, how does it fit in? And you can imagine in any social situation, if you just turn up and start talking before listening, it's not going to go down so well. And it's just the same with media relations. What the agency will do, or you do for yourself, if you're going to do your own PR is look at the target audience that you want to get to. Go to the journalist sections on the publications. And now almost all of them will have a, a journalist link. Largely, because many of these journalists now are freelance writers. And so, they will want to have a byline and it'll include, for example, their Twitter handle. And you want to go to their Twitter, and follow them, and track them, and even retweet, not in a stalking kind of a way, but if you're in the same, in the same category, same industry, as they're already writing about. Then, if you are following what they do, you are simply getting up to speed with how they think and what they think about what you are going to introduce them to. So then what's going to happen on the agency side or for you, yourself, is you're going to be matching what your key message and your proof points are to what the articles are that the journalist is currently interested in, or might be interested in. And this is really where most companies fall down. Most companies send a press release to a journalist, and because it's important to the company, they think it's going to be important to the journalist. Journalists get 30, 40, 50 pitches a day. Okay. Just to like a national newspaper, even just a trade, they'll get up to 50 emails a day with pitches. So you can imagine, how busy they are and just to get one long piece of information from you saying how important you are isn't going to cut it. So we started to do, as we've started, send journalists an email, very short and as a headline, which says something along the lines of 'You wrote this story and we have one for you about this.' And then in the body will say, 'Dear journalists name. We read your article and will at the link there.' And we say, 'This was interesting because...' for example, 'it relates to our client who also is in this sector and who does this. We'd be delighted to help you to take your conversation with your readers further. By sharing more information about how our clients solves problem X or problem Y. We'd be delighted to be a service. We know you're very busy. If you have time, please click to reply or introduce us to someone that you think might find this of interest.' And that's it. Many clients want to send long, long emails, very ex, explanatory about what they do. The journalists don't really have the time if they're interested and they might be reading it on their mobile phone, for example. They'll just click the reply button or it'll just go to their spam. Now, what we're doing is we know that those journalists are too busy to reply to everything. So we're following them on Twitter. We're connecting with them on LinkedIn. We're not trying to stalk them. That's not going to win anybody any favors or certainly any coverage at all. So, what we're trying to do is to find the intersection between what our clients are doing and what the media are writing about. And that's where we get the liftoff. That's what we get the synergy. So recently we got this Chinese client I mentioned onto Bloomberg, in Bloomberg Hong Kong. In fact, the journalist is based in Hong Kong and I happen to know Steve Angle from a days in Beijing together. So I was able to have a back channel chat to Steve on WeChat and say, we've got this, but then we had to send a pitch to the Bloomberg producers in New York. It had just be short and pithy. And then it turned out that Bloomberg now have a green section, a green going green part of their overall morning investors show. So we needed to package the story about our client in the context of their green segment. This company recycles 10% of China's mobile phones. It's listed on the New York stock exchange. But that wasn't what they were interested in. They're interested in carbon reduction, in the business models around the circular economy, for example. So the client has got a key message and he's got some proof points. And what we have to do then is to tailor those proof points to the respective interview that's going to take place. And this is where the PR agency can guide a client. Because the client is often so keen to talk about what they want to talk about they're not listening to what the media we'd like to share with their audience. And this is really a key point, that the media are not the audience in themselves - they are a channel. They take from an agency or from the internet or wherever they get their news, whatever they think is interesting for -their readers listeners, or viewers. They're not actually taking the content for their own interest or benefit. They're all worried about ratings, they're worried about circulation, they're worried about subscriptions, because that is their business model. They get more revenue if they get more people to watch, read, subscribe, advertise, and so on. Sometimes people think that the media is almost a, sort of a free to add charity service. It's not, it's a business as we know from people like Rupert Murdoch, become billionaires as a result. So when we're pitching our story, when you're pitching your story to that journalist. I encourage you to think through carefully what it is that you have as a company to offer. But then to think just as carefully, what that media outlet is interested to find out and to share with their audience. Now, if you've got your bio in place and you've got a good photograph, and you've got some B roll, and you've got some facts and figures and you're making the life of the journalist much easier to work with you. If they've got two stories of equal value but one is already prepared and the other one's going to take extra work. They will go for the client or the story that is half prepared because they just don't have the time to do that work themselves. I started this by saying, how long does it take for an agency to get up to speed? It really depends on how quickly and readily the client can get up to speed and share the information. My experiences, that it takes about a month to eight weeks for clients to have everything ready. But also what the agency is doing is starting to share information with those journalists. But they're not all covering the story that the client has got when the client wants to share it. Just like selling, you rarely find a client that's ready to buy just when you meet them and one school of thought says it takes nearly a year for someone to have first learned about you, watched you and then made a decision to purchase from you. It's not dissimilar in PR, it gets turbocharged. Gets the time scales reduced by having an agency that already knows what to do. We facilitate a faster take-up that you might otherwise get. But certainly 1, 2, 3, maybe 4 months. And to get the big win can take 3-6 months or even longer. So PR is a longterm game with some short-term tactics and activities that every client or you can do if you don't have an agency. And I hope these give you some clues as to what you need to do in order to be prepared before you reach out to the media. As always I'm here to help jim@eastwestpr.com. So if you need anything from me, let me know, and we are more than happy to help you to get your company noticed. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The UnNoticed Show.