How to find a story around your pet business that journalists will love
Getting coverage your pet business in a national newspaper, magazine, TV or radio show is really tough.
So today I’m talking about how Kerry Jordan got her pet photography business Fur and Fables mentioned in The Sun.
I’m going to explain the process we went through and how the opportunity came about, and if you’d like to listen to an interview with Kerry, you can at the end of this post.
How do I get national coverage?
It’s the question I get asked about the most as a journalist writing mostly about pets, and the truth is that most of the time, editors aren’t interested.
They’re out to sell newspapers or magazines or get listeners or viewers on their show – not to promote people’s businesses.
In the old days when all communications were done by phone, if someone rang up and said, ‘I want you to write about my business,’ they got the short shrift.
Myself and my colleagues at the Warrington Guardian would pass them through to the advertising department and they would be looking at minimum £250 for an ad – that was back in 2000.
Now things have changed. Because of online there is a huge demand for content.
The Daily Mail – love it or hate it, it’s the biggest site in the world – uploads around 2,000 stories a DAY.
There are more features – real people talking about things that happen in the news – and these bring opportunities for business owners to get coverage.
Talking about things that happen around your business that tie into your brand values and what you do is an ideal way to get coverage.
Back to Kerry.
She didn’t talk about her work as a dog photographer or how brilliant her cameras are, but she shared a personal story where her work was mentioned a lot!
Two months ago an editor got in touch and explained they were doing a feature on women (lots of the slots are for women’s sections) who put their pets before their partner.
They wanted case studies – so that’s an individual talking about themselves and their personal experiences – to talk about examples of this.
Specifically, they asked for people who spend more on their pets than their partners, who holiday with their pet, who share the bed with their pet, who take their pets on dates.
I knew Kerry had just come back from a trip to the Lake District with her dogs. She has five gorgeous whippets Scout, Jasper, Boo, Shadow and Bertie and she’d taken two on her trip.
I’ve known Kerry a couple of years and we’re both in the same business support community – Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Group – it’s amazing by the way!
Straight away I knew she was perfect.
But the request was from The Sun, which I know isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
I spoke to Kerry and she said she would be happy to be featured so we did an interview over the phone and they arranged a hair and make up artist and a photographer to capture Kerry, her hubby Alex and their five dogs at home.
The process I go through when I interview a case study like this is as follows.
We have the initial interview, and I write up the story. Kerry’s was around 300 words.
I send it to the editor and answer any queries they may have, which usually means another call to the case study.
Once the editing has been done, the copy is sent back to me so I can do a read back with the case study. This is recorded for legal reasons.
Kerry then has the opportunity to make any changes, or correct any inaccuracies. At this point, her occupation had been edited to ‘photographer’ and we were able to change it to ‘pet photographer.’
Then the story is laid out on the page and goes to print and online.
You can read Kerry’s story here. Meet the four women who put their dogs before their partners.
I think it’s helpful to explain this because when Kerry shared the story on social media, one person said they would worry about the ‘spin’ that might be put on the story.
There is distrust in the media and I don’t think this will ever go away, but with my case studies, this is the process I follow as do most of my colleagues.
Ultimately, I want the people I work with to be happy with what’s written about them.
It makes my life easier and they’re more likely to recommend me to others! My reputation is really important to me.
Kerry was delighted with the finished piece. Her company tagline is ‘for people and brands who put their dogs first.’
Featuring in a line up of women who ‘choose time with their pets over their partners,’ was completely on brand for her.
The piece described her as a pet photographer and in it she explained she holidays with her dogs because she loves taking photos of them and Alex gets fed up.
Here’s a snippet.
“I wouldn’t dream of leaving the dogs in kennels and Alex doesn’t mind staying at home when I take them on holiday.
“I love going away, just me and them. We have holidayed in Cornwall twice and the Lake District. I’m taking them back to the Lakes this year.
“On holiday we go for long walks and we can do as we like. Alex isn’t bothered because I’m always stopping to take photos of them.”
Kerry was able to talk about her job and her love of photography, and her devotion to her dogs.
The response she had from her community when she shared it was really positives because the story was so ‘her.’
Kerry said: “The photoshoot was fun and I had my hair and make up done professionally. It was a real buzz seeing myself in print.
“Featuring in the article appealed to me because putting your pet first is completely on brand for me. I do this and so do my clients.
“I’ve had such good feedback from my community from sharing the piece because is it so ‘me!’ It’s been a lovely way to engage my audience.
“Plus I’m able to say my business has featured in a national newspaper.”
Being interviewed can be daunting and in the video below Kerry and I talk about her experience and about building relationships with journalists.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know me, but you can be connecting with journalists near you easily on social media, so you can grasp opportunities to publicise your brand.
Kerry is one of a number of pet business owners from my Facebook group who have appeared in national newspapers talking about all manner of things but mentioning their business.
Nikki Lane runs a craft business creating ceramic decorations and talked about how many things she has with her dog Wookie’s face on in the Daily Mail.
Read her story here Devoted dog lovers turn their homes into shrines for their faithful friends.
Sue Tostevin talked about having a Maltipoo after TV presenter Ant McPartlin bought two of the breed and mentioned her Miss Teddy pet accessory range.
Read her story here Meet the owners who are crossbreed crazy.
The stories around your business are the ways you get to promote what you do.
If you’d like to find out about opportunities like these, you can join my free Facebook group.
And for regular updates, tips on creating content and promoting your business, you can sign up here.
Hi, I’m Rachel, a freelance journalist and PR and content consultant and crazy dog lady!
I’ve written so many stories about animals and pet brands that I wrote a book on how pet entrepreneurs can do their own PR.
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