Why you need to find tune your content before pitching to journalists
Having the right content out there about you and your business is vital before you start sending out pitches or press releases to journalists.
Think about it. You’re asking them to feature you or your product but one of the first things they are going to think is WHY?
Who is this person? Why should I write about them? Can I see evidence that what they are telling me is true? Can I see the thing they want me to feature?
How do you answer those questions?
You need to reassure the journalist that yes, you are the person who can help them with their story, or that you provide a product that is suitable for them to write about.
You do this through your content. Ideally this will be on your website, but it can also be through books, blogs, video, social media and podcasts.
Journalists don’t tend to have much time – they want to know answers quickly – so it’s usually your website that they would look at first.
If you have a book, brilliant, this positions you as an expert. If you have a podcast, again, you’re showing you know your stuff.
With video, whether your business is product or service based, you can demonstrate your expertise and with social media you have that social proof too.
I know this as my main income stream is journalism and I pitch stories every week. Nearly every time, if I pitch an expert, I’m asked for a link to their website.
Journalists question and challenge things – it’s part of what they’re trained to do.
If I’m talking about a product, they want to see images of it and understand how it works, so content like videos or testimonials, or case studies where customers talk about a product.
Then, once the journalist is confident that the person is credible, or their product is relevant and of a quality they can recommend to their readers, we move forward.
I’m writing as I’m conscious readers come to my website as it’s about publicity – well it’s there in the title – but there are many other steps you need to have in place first.
So how do you do this? Here are a few pointers.
If you’re a dog walker, have content on your site explaining your training, background, what happens on a walk, how you transport the dogs and ensure they’re safe in your care plus testimonials.
If you’re a dog trainer, talk about what inspired you. Showcase the services you offer, from classes to 1-1 sessions to ongoing support. Share stories about dogs you have worked with and the transformation, events you’ve attended and your own personal development.
If you create products, explain how your business came about. Share images and, if you can, videos, of your products being used so people visiting your site can see how they would fit into their lives.
I’m going to use Dominic Hodgson, a dog trainer and pet business coach who I worked with recently, as an example.
There’s a video showing the coverage at the end of this post. You can click on the CC button to switch on the subtitles.
Dominic recently brought out a book, Worry Free Walks.
It’s his second training book and is aimed at dog owners and walkers who want to improve the communication they have with their dog.
The book is his key piece of content. By writing it, he’s shown himself to be an expert. Not everyone can write a book.
Dominic also has a website, www.mydogssuperhero.com, the title of his first book.
On there are testimonials from other experts in his field and dog owners who have been helped by the book.
Plus he has his social media channels.
If someone pitched his story to a journalist, they can easily find out he is who he says he is.
I share Dominic’s story as we worked together 1-1 for the launch of his book and it led to three fantastic pieces of coverage.
We wrote a press release together and a series of pitches.
First, the press release appeared in the Sunday People and Mirror Online and you can read the story here Training expert gives warning to dog owners who let pets become bored.
Then, a pitch we’d crafted about how to cope with a new pet resulted in an interview in the Newcastle Chronicle.
This was in the region where Dominic lives, so perfect for his book as readers want to support people in their local area.
It also helped his other business, www.growyourpetbusinessfast.com, where he coaches pet professionals on how to market their business.
He’s showing them he knows his stuff because he’s in the newspaper.
You can read it here Dominic Hodgson shares dog training tips on how to get walks under control.
A third pitch saw Dominic appear on BBC Radio Newcastle, talking about the book and giving advice on dog training to listeners.
He was able to build a relationship with the show host, Lisa Shaw, meaning if she or any colleagues need a dog expert to interview, he’s on their list.
Of course, Dominic had his book as this was the base for the story, but can you see how important content is?
And getting it right means that once you put yourself in front of journalists, you’re massively increasing your chances of coverage.
If you’d like support with content you might like to check out a series of ideas I have put together.
You can get Five Content Ideas for Dog Walkers if you click here.
And for Five Content Ideas for Dog Groomers, click here.
If you found this post helpful, you might like to read:
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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