If you have ever wondered how to get press for your photography business, or if it were even possible, I am here to say that in today’s digitally connected world, it sure is! The barriers have been taken down, and now we can get direct access to journalists and editors via social media. We don’t necessarily have to use a PR agency in order to get exposure for our small business. Press can be great for adding perceived value and credibility, as well as being great for SEO juice, too. Unfortunately, the online world also brings out the worst in people, and negative press should be avoided. But lets talk about the good stuff. I have had experience in obtaining press for my own business, as well as some other small businesses, and today I want to share some tips on how to get press for your photography or freelance business.
The goal, in my opinion, is to become a resource for the media on various topics and not have just one viral piece of news. We see viral stories nowadays all the time: a dress, a cat video, or even maybe a great wedding photography story like the one of Josh Newton. But those are the rare cases and let’s face it they don’t last too long. Yes of course I would love to go viral somehow but in a hustling, everyday worker-bee world, consistency wins. So lets first learn how to get press for our small business, and then, if one day the “V word” lands on our plate, we will be ready with spoon, fork, spork and knife!
How does getting press work?
First and foremost, it is important that we understand what press is and how press works. Getting press is actually not about you or your business at all! Say what? Yes, you heard me, it is about the editor or journalist quoting us or seeing us as an expert on a given topic. If we can help him or her by being a reliable source, they will think of us over and over again. Journalists are so busy now that if you are able to help them in any way, shape, or form, you will be noticed. You must look at press as: how can I be quoted as an expert in that topic or field? And listen up, it won’t always be about photography. CONFUSED? We actually have experience in many other areas of La Vie and lets start making a list. For example, I am a mom, a photographer, a business owner, and I teach DIY SEO, so my areas of expertise can range from business to parenting to wedding trends. Random. I know. Me like it that way!
So take some time and write down the topics you are an expert at. Have fun with it, draw them, use mind mapping or whatever rocks your boat. Once you are recognized as an expert in a particular area/field and you help a journalist out, then next time when that topic comes up, you can be a useful source for them again. They will remember you.
The next step is to establish some key dates that always need news copy throughout the year. These will be holidays, special events, or seasonal sporting events
- special events
- sporting events
- world cup
Now you will also be on the lookout for trends or current hot news. Some folks check the trending topics on Twitter, Facebook or even Google Plus. You can get some ideas there on how to be quoted for an article, or you may get your own PR idea.
- What’s trending?
- World news
- Breaking news
- Celebrity news
Write out some press release ideas. (read on so you learn how to write a press release) A press release is like a summary of the topic you want to cover, have an idea for, or want to be quoted for, etc. It can be:
- hot new gifts for Valentine’s Day
- empowering women through glamour photography
- (a wedding trend you have seen) I did a press release for a wedding trend I was personally seeing and it got featured on GMA so you never now.
- an opinion on a hot, current topic and defending arguments
Thirdly, I do recommend you sending out press releases about studio news. This may not get you lots of press or eyeballs since it is more focus on you but it is very good to distribute this kind of news online, always. So if you are launching a new product, opening a new studio, doing some kind of charity work, you should send our a press release!
The next question is: where would you you like to be featured? Is it the Huffington Post? Is it Good Morning America? Is it a wedding blog? Is it Entrepreneur Magazine? Is It Mashable? Your local paper? Local news? Feel free to dream big here, but don’t ignore your local peeps either. I recommend you start an excel for file to start jotting down the contacts locally and nationally.
Here is a sample below or you can save a copy of this Google Doc Template by Worldwide Alliance on your own Google Docs HERE.
|abc||Stephen / firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sun news||Erica / email@example.com|
How do you find the journalists or editors? For the most part, you can read similar past articles and their contact email should be on there. If not, you can visit the website and see where to submit stories. I always prefer getting a contact’s email, but if you really can’t find it, use the online form and ask for the best email address, or who the editor is. Local news will have instructions on where to submit stories. This was how I got featured on Brides.com.
Connecting with journalists is key. Using Twitter to connect with some journalists and interact with them is a great place to start, especially for those more well-known blogs and sites. If you read an interesting piece online, add that journalist to the list. Compliment them on their work, retweet their posts, talk to them if they ask a question. So, engage with the journalists and follow them!
The first order of business is creating a compelling, eye-catching title. It may require some research and time, and you could perhaps ask some friends what they think the best title is or what would make them open that email. Include the date, contact info, and also include a photo. It is best to send the press release pasted inside the email and not as an attachment. Journalists get gazillions of emails a day, so if they see an attachment, they may think it’s spam. You need to send a short, to-the-point press release.
Here is a sample which you can download from the Google doc templates- what a great resource.
In the body of the release after date and city write out your ideas for the topic. Quote yourself as the expert. Your body of the press release should not be super long and make it easy for them to contact you. When you are ready to send out your press release, it is important to copy the press release in the body of the email. Editors and journalists are very busy, and if they see an attachment, they will most likely consider it spam.
Fast and cheap ways to get your press release distributed.
Once your press release is done, it is now time to distribute it! There are paid distribution methods (such as going through a PR company) that have all of the contacts already, or you can use a PR newswire service, too. I found that this article by Mashable had some great cheap or free press release distribution resources. It was in using one of these cheaper press release distribution sites that got me featured on line.
FOLLOW UP ALWAYS!
Following up with journalists is important. For local newspapers and local TV, I recommend you call them after you send the press release to make sure they have received it. It may seem a little annoying, but again, they are extremely occupied. So reminding them can be good for both of you and they do appreciate it. Be aware that any news you have won’t compete with breaking news. I learned this the hard way so if there is breaking news that day then it was not a good day for press release but don’t get discouraged.
In conclusion, You can easily obtain press for your business, and you should be sending out press releases at least once a quarter to share your news, expertise and awesomesauce with the world!
Have you had press for your business? any other tips you want to share? Stay tuned next week we have a guest writer all about getting on TV!