5 ways to land a story in top-tier publications

“How fast can you get my business featured in The Huffington Post ?”
If I had a dime for every time a client or potential client asked me some variation of that question, I wouldn’t have to do PR anymore.

It’s not a bad question, but clients’ longings for Tier 1 media coverage are often misguided.

Good press coverage should be a helpful tool, not a means to an end. PR is a process, and a valuable one at that. A single placement in a Tier 1 media outlet can open doors, but you must have realistic expectations about getting there, and you should know how to make the most of it after the publicity happens.
Remember these guidelines:

1. Stop insisting on features.
If you’ll accept only features or profile pieces in major media outlets, your chances of ever getting covered are severely diminished.

Margie Zable Fisher wrote:
Every client wants a big profile of the company on the cover of a major magazine or newspaper, but most stories are about a “trend,” several companies, or some recent news with quotes from experts. Profiles are few and far between.

You must think like a reporter or journalist. Your business is never as exciting as you think it is, but if you tie it to a current event or trend and pitch it that way, you’re on the right track.

2. Make yourself available.
Journalists and bloggers do things on their time, not yours.

Shailesh Kumar, founder of Value Stock Guide, got featured in The New York Times—two years after he initially pitched the reporter.

He says: “I responded to a HARO query from the same reporter but on a different story. He did not contact me for the story I had responded to, but cold called me for this [different story] one year later.”
Reporters might not call back when it’s convenient for you. When they do come calling, don’t insist on doing things on your own terms. Journalists have a lengthy list of other credible sources ready to do the interview at a moment’s notice.

If you want the exposure, be available, be timely, be accommodating.
[RELATED: Ragan Consulting Group can help you find, tell and share your organization's compelling stories in any format.]

3. Be patient.
Those behind the “overnight success” stories gracing The New York Times have worked tirelessly and have pitched its editors countless times.
Have realistic expectations going in. If you expect a response from a Tier 1 journalist your first time around, you’ll be let down. Successful companies view PR as a long-term strategy.

Media placements take months of relationship building, pitching and re-pitching, follow-up and then some—and sometimes that still leads to a no. Successful pros keep going (not to be confused with annoying or stalking their coveted reporters and editors).

Even after you get a reporter to commit to running a piece on your company or including you in a trend story, the writing and editing of that piece can take months. Contrary to what you may believe about our digital world, good stories take time to percolate.
Be strategic about pitching and patient in your expectations. Good publicity is worth both the effort and the wait.

4. Make newsjacking your new best friend.
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