An Insider’s Guide to Getting into the National Press

Getting press attention when you’re just starting out with your business might seem like a huge challenge but at our recent Creative Home Business Club, leading journalist Serena Fokschaner made it all a great deal more attainable.

It is a complex subject, with much to learn, but Serena gave us some really useful tips. Here are a few:

1. Capture your story. By weaving your story into your copy, you will stand out from the crowd.

2. Sharpen up your strapline and make your content fresh and punchy, ditch the clichés and strip out any overused marketing speak.

3. Do your homework. There’s a lot you can do before sending out a press release that will make it more effective. Identify those journalists most likely to be interested in you and who will offer you the right kind of coverage, then nurture relationships with them, so that they’re primed for your message. Social media is useful for this.

4. Think about the timing and the format of your press release. Control your message. Make it clear and concise and be aware of deadlines.

5. Make it easy for the journalist.  Include all the details of your shop, event, project, product or service, ideally in your opening paragraph – the what, why, when and where.

6. Use your old boys’/old girls’ network. You’ll be surprised how many useful contacts you’ve picked up at networking events, the school gates, parties etc. Use them.

7. Good pictures are key, so if you haven’t got high quality images, think about using a professional photographer and make sure they’re clearly captioned and in the right format, or you will find them featured without reference to you.

8. Ensure your website is press friendly. A journalist will go straight to your website . Does it tell your story? Are all the details on the site – prices, dimensions, locations etc?  Do you have a press cuttings page?

9. Planning is crucial.  Plot a PR strategy across your calendar. Read as widely as possible and  work out where you fit in amongst them.  Look for opportunities, such as interviews, regular contributions to editorial and first person columns.

10. Put yourself in the journalist’s chair. What are they looking for?  Something bizarre, topical, controversial, human interest?  Make sure your content is relevant to their readers, offer an exclusive, position yourself as an expert or create a ‘new’ news story.

If you would like to know more Serena also runs two hour fact-packed and lively “How To Get Press Workshops” filled with her valuable insider’s tips. The next session is on Wednesday 10th June. Private sessions are also available. For more info click here

Serena Fokschaner

Serena Fokschaner is a freelance journalist with almost 20 years experience of writing for national publications including Homes & Gardens, BBC magazines, Brides, ES, Departures, Country Homes & Interiors, The London Magazine, The Sunday Times and the Telegraph while copy writing clients include Dulux and the British Embassy in Tokyo.

Serena has interviewed and written about numerous professionals: from florists and interior designers to craftsmen, high-street and online retailers, restaurateurs and architects. This experience means she understands first hand the challenges of getting your story in to the media.

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