Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

Doing PR In House –
Part 4: Getting the Coverage

Kasia Bigda is the Marketing and Communications Director at Mr Lee’s Pure Foods – global food tech company. Prior to joining Mr Lee’s she worked at multiple digital marketing agencies focusing on SEO and content marketing. She loves travelling, nature and psychology.

Welcome back to the 4th and final part of my series – PR for Inhouse Teams. In my previous articles I covered the preparation of the media kit, the angles you can take to get the coverage (even without any news), and the pitching stage. This time you will learn what you can expect after you send your pitching email. I will also share with you a few tips which helped me to secure coverage in the past.

Ok, so you have sent your email pitch and are wondering what’s next? The below 4 points cover the next steps you should take to give yourself the best chance to succeed:

1. Chasing Emails

If you have followed the tips from my previous article, you should already have your spreadsheet with journalists’ names, publication name and the date of your initial pitch, to help you to keep track of your coverage. It is good practice to add a reminder to your calendar to start chasing after about 3-4 days.

In the text of the emails I always ask if they have received my previous email about (topic of my pitch and a brief blurb) and if there is anything else they need from me. You can also attach an image of your products, to remind them of who you are and offer samples again. Always reply to the previous email’s thread, so they have it all in 1 place!

I wouldn’t email them the 3rd time if you haven’t heard back, as they are clearly not interested. But sometimes they do not reply and feature you anyway!

2. Sending samples

When a journo accepts your offer to send them your product samples, it is a good idea to pack them in an exceptionally nice box and add some additional merchandise (if you have any) and a personal message. Will it guarantee you press coverage? … I honestly don’t know, as in theory the product should speak for itself and we have been securing coverage in the past without including that. But in practice I believe that if “the feel” around unpacking the parcel is positive, then you may be scoring some brownie points..We are only humans after all 🙂

3. Monitoring

There are paid media monitoring services (I believe by Kantar), but if you are on a budget you can use one of the ones below. These tools will not pick up printed features (unless they are also available as an online version and are accessible without any login), but should cover everything published online. For the printed features you may have to take a trip to WHSmith or any other newsagent and manually check each issue you may have been featured in.
The tools I recommend are:

a) Keyword Alerts in Google
b) Talkwalker
c) Mention

I have them all running at the same time in their free versions and I believe between them they pick up 99% of online mentions for the keywords I have set them up for.

Make sure you track at least your brand name (and any variations, misspellings, your website url), products’ names, generic keywords of your product category (so you can also track trends in your niche) and your CEO’s name.

You can also track your competition (if you set them up for their brand names), so you can approach the titles they have been featured in (if relevant) and also keep track of their progress.

4. Say thank you when you get coverage

This is something I probably shouldn’t mention, but added it just in case. Thanking a journalist for a feature is a great way to leave a positive, lasting impression and helps to nurture the relationship. Don’t expect an answer, as they are often very busy, but I am sure it will make them smile and warm their heart a little! 🙂

So you know what to do after the pitch, but are there any other aspects you need to bear in mind or can do to increase your chances to get media coverage?

Here are my 4 tips which I wish I knew before:

1. Buying ads

And how to get the best chance to actually get featured? Well, the easiest way is to speak to the advertising team and buy an ad. It is not always an option if you are on the budget, but if you ever book an advert, always ask if they can offer a complimentary editorial feature. You then double the exposure in the current issue by having an ad and editorial – or you can expand it by taking editorial in the following issue and just keeping the ad in the current issue!

I have done a test once, where I have included a different discount code in the ad and in the editorial in the same magazine issue. The editorial code was used significantly more, despite the ad space being much bigger than the editorial mention.

2. Editorial Calendar – Synopsis

Regular magazines often plan way in advance the themes of their future issues. Request or find on their website the synopsis / editorial calendar, often hidden in their Media Kit. This way you can see if you fit into that issue with your product or is it better to wait and pitch the next issue. They often provide some information about the deadlines, the angle and the contact details.

● Here are some examples of feature lists in a weekly magazine the Grocer and monthly Food&Wine.

● Some of them tell you exactly how they want to be pitched eg. the Taste Cooking or Eating Well.

● Also this resource you may find useful – 20 food magazines to pitch.

3. Speed

If you are replying to a request from a journalist who is publicly asking for comment on a topic, you need to act fast, even if the deadline is way in the future. Other brands may fulfil the requirements and you may miss the opportunity..

The below coverage I got from following #journorequest on Twitter. As soon as it popped in, I sent a DM to a freelance journo. I didn’t even know which title he was writing for! Within 5 min he replied asking for comments and photo related to cooking in the office, and said it is for The Times! We had literally 2 hours to organise a photoshoot in our kitchen! A few days later our MD was reading the Times on the plane and was amazed to see a whole page article with our brand logo taking half of it! It was later republished in Money Week and The Australian! The quicker you can organise comments and photos the better!

4. Usage of Copyrights

Not many people know that but if you want to reuse a copy or images published about you in press on your website, social media, email newsletters, internal emails or even store it internally, you need an annual CLA licence you need to pay for (at least in the UK you do).
You can share links to the articles on your social media, but not screenshots or quotes from the article without the licence.

Thank you for following my series and hope you found it helpful. I wish you all the success in securing coverage for your brand!

For more articles on marketing for startups and SMEs, check out my Linkedin profile!
Good luck!

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