For a small business owner, one of the essential things to understand is how to do their PR. That is even more important in the beginning, as it will not be too easy to afford professional PR until you lay the groundwork yourself. Rebekah Epstein is the founder of fifteen media, a boutique PR firm specializing in media relations and she reinforces that idea. She suggests that when you get to a certain point where you know your time needs to be spent doing things other than PR, or until you can afford a firm, you should take that leap. Although you don’t have the resources, you can get some of those placements on your own if you dedicate some time to it. The panelists for Fashion Mingle’s Mastermind Session “How To Be Your Publicist” share their insights on successfully handling the PR for your business.
How To Be Your Own Publicist
How to pitch a story about your collection to the media?
The first step when pitching a story about your most recent creations should be getting yourself included in roundups. Roundups are posts that list suggestions for a specific topic, like the five hottest shoes for summer. Pick five publications and start paying attention to who’s writing that list. Online, it’s easy to find their contact information, so let the person know about your brand; send some images and mention what you have to offer. Send them a pitch.
A positive side of working with freelancers specifically is that they write for multiple publications that could be a fit for you. It’s recommended to look at your competitors as well, to know who’s covering brands in your industry or brands you follow.
How to craft an email that will be opened?
First, write what you’re offering, including your brand summary and the products. You must keep your emails concise and ensure to add an image to the body of your email. Rather than writing a bunch of text about what you have to offer, show it. These teams get many emails daily, so be consistent and keep pitching. You will constantly get on their radar and eventually be noticed.
How do you address it when you don’t hear back about your emails, and when do you give up on a particular contact?
Rebekah suggests sending out one pitch and then doing a singular follow-up to that pitch, reminding them of this information. If you still don’t hear anything, move on to a new pitch. You must constantly look for new hooks, story ideas, and ways to spend your brand. You should not follow up more than once but move on to a new story idea. Keep trying, changing up your story, and looking for new contacts. Unless a media person tells you they’re not interested or to take them off your list, send them pitches if different story ideas are being used. The fact that someone has not responded yet does not imply that they will never be interested.
What basics ensure that you look professional enough to get into a publication?
For new brands, it is not advised to pitch to the media until you have something to show. Once someone’s interested, there could be a short turnaround, and you might not have time to get all the necessary material together. Therefore, if you’d like to look professional, ensure you have material such as product images on a white background. Regarding your website, a crucial factor is having a brand story and displaying it on the “About” page, in addition to actual images of your products and good product descriptions. Rebekah’s advice is to think of PR as credentialing and to keep SEO in mind, as the more you’re mentioned in online articles, the more it helps your numbers.
What are great subject lines that will get your pitch read?
The goal is to anticipate what the media will cover, so capture the most generic information in your subject line. For instance, say “Trendy Bathing Suits for Summer” or “Father’s Day Gift Ideas.” This way, you ensure that the subject line resonates with them.
How do you protect your pitch?
You may worry about copyrights when providing a unique angle and throwing it out in an email. Although, it is not often recommended to pitch something that is not yet available on an online website and is shared with social media. The founder of Rakomova Law Shirin Movahed has over 13 years experience practicing corporate, commercial, litigation and intellectual property law; she says that if you have a unique idea that’s not already out there, the best bet is not to share that first conversation or interaction before releasing information. The media wants to cover what their audience can buy. And then you already have that protection and copyrights or patents.
Specific tips for pitching a service business instead of a product
As TRUE Model Management founder Dale Noelle said, if you don’t have a product then you’re a service business. When you are pitching a service business, you will replace your knowledge with products to pitch your understanding instead. With events, pitching the people involved in it tends to be a successful tactic. But you need to ensure that you’re pitching publications that make sense. Renowned fashion event producer Catherine Schuller commented on product placement and alignment with charities, and techniques like giveaways are always welcome by the public. Beth Smith, Fashion Mingle CEO and Chief Marketing Officer mentioned getting on talk shows and TV outlets, but not after starting online to understand how things work and get more opportunities.
According to CEO of DCG Public Relations Dee Rivera, what producers look for is a segment story for morning shows. That would be three or five points, three or five tips. You can also subscribe to HARO, a platform where many queries come in through different editors and other publications, and you can answer them directly. Press raises your profile, but LinkedIn can also be your best friend and assist you in getting business and contacts.
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