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The Basics of Marketing Yourself To Journalists Professionally

Posted by JournoLink in Business Tips on 19 May 2016 at 14:15


The basics of marketing yourself professionally to journalists are more or less the same, whether you respond to a Journo Request, meet them at a trade show or some other event. They are always looking for news, are time poor, and have lots of other opportunities in front of them. It is your job to market yourself to them, and make their job easier. It’s easy to get their attention when you take these basic actions.

1.Show them your relevance

Far more important than your title is what you actually do for your market and how you influence the world around you. What is your big idea, your value proposition?  What problems do you solve for others? What needs do you meet in your market, and what indeed is your market?

When asked what I do I often just say “I get SME’s and startups media coverage, and I do that with Journolink the affordable online PR portal.” Note that PR is near the end of my sentence. Of course I do PR but there are loads of PR practitioners. No, I’m relevant because I get small businesses media coverage affordably. Now THAT is news. The key things are my sector and my methods, that’s what is disrupting PR and making me relevant. Now apply this to your business. If you’re an accountant you could say “I help businesses raise finance, I do their accounts and VAT returns; I’m an accountant that specialises in business development.” Everyone knows how you impact the world and what you’d be good to comment on. Saying you’re an Accountant is just not enough.

2. Know Who the journalist is.

If you’ve not had a chance to meet the journalist before, it’s great to ask them what they’re writing about at the moment. You get an instant steer on what their interest is. Then you can present your value proposition in a way that’s relevant to them now! Are they into disruption? Show them how disruptive your business is in your sector of enterprise. Are they into the European referendum? Tell them that you’ve learned lots about the impact of regulation and the EC and have a view on how it affects yours and other businesses like yours. The key is not to tell everyone the same thing, any more than you would market yourself to every customer in the same way.  Your business is like the fabled elephant. Looked at one way it’s like a wall, another way it looks like a tree trunk, another way it’s like a long hose. Show the aspect of the business that is relevant to the journalist. Of course you can only do that when you know what the editorial interest of the journalist is. That’s easy to find. Follow them on twitter or LinkedIn and see what they post. Google their publication or medium and check the editorial content. One size does not fit all whenever you’re marketing yourself. Just stay relevant to the person in front of you.

3. Ease their load.

This is the easiest thing to do and the quickest way to get them to box check you in their minds as a “rock star”. Don’t make them work or do lengthy research on you for the basics, they should be a given. They should have your name, telephone number, twitter handle Facebook or other social media or LinkedIn page, your email address and your website. Your name alone and your company will not cut it. Give the links that are required and it’s all so easily done with a business card which should be always available. If you have a Journolink profile makes sure it’s completed in all the details including pictures of your brand, logo or product. Add the person who is your media spokesperson and their telephone number and email. This says to the Journalist you are ready to engage and are likely making a difference in your market. Then they only need to focus on writing the story. It’s great to use important key words in your Journolink profile, all will aid searches and your marketing effort to make you visible to journalists - and there are 6000 on our site.

As a journalist I’ve often repeatedly gone back to businesses who have their details ready and sorted. I even ask them of others like them, and that puts the business on the road to being an influencer.

Making contact with journalists and appearing on their radar is just as easy as these three steps above. Try them and see the difference.  

Written by:
Tetteh Kofi
is Brand Ambassador for JournoLink. He is a broadcast journalist with credits in news and current affairs for the BBC, ITN, LBC and Colourful Radio. He published newspapers and has run training and crisis management programmes for multinationals and government agencies across Europe.


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