Last week, Peter, the founder of JournoLink, received some great coverage in the Telegraph, both on the online site and in the print publication.
How did we achieve that? Simply by responding to a media request on our platform.
We said it before, for instance in our blog explaining why to respond to a journalist media request, journalists requests for content are massively underestimated by businesses when it comes to building a PR strategy.
While they’re not always focused on what your business does, they’re still fantastic opportunities to get your brand talked about, if not simply mentioned. We'd like to share some of our successes to convince you.
Using founder or staff stories for your PR
The story of the double page on Saturday Telegraph
Last month, a journalist was looking for someone 50+ who've used their savings to do something interesting for a profile feature. We jumped on the occasion as Peter had started JournoLink at 60 with his savings. Interesting enough we hoped.
A few days later, he got interviewed by the journalist and the article followed.
Some would say “but the feature isn’t about what JournoLink does, so what’s the point”.
Well, that’s where we think you should never overlook the impact this type of PR piece can have on your business. Stay with us.
Key outcomes for your brand
- It raises awareness about the business.
Some people who had never heard of JournoLink might have read the piece and come across the brand. Even if they didn’t check it out, they are now aware of your existence
- Even if the story is about an individual, you can still get your key messages across.
So even if Peter talked about his story, he also managed to talk about JournoLink and that the platform does. (We detailed a few tactics to achieve that in the last part of this blog. )
- You can get a valuable backlink.
Which will not only have a positive impact on your SEO if it’s a ‘follow’ link but will also drive traffic to your website which is the place you want people to land on when seeing a positive article about your brand.
- Feature articles are particularly popular on social media.
You can expect your friends, colleagues and partners to share it. People prefer sharing stories about people rather than businesses.
Some more examples
Since JournoLink started, responding to media requests and using personal stories have always been part of our PR strategy and it has been a real success. Another example is the article in Real business that you can find here about the JournoLink being created by father and daughter Peter and Gemma or a piece on the BBC website on the same theme here.
Of course, not all media requests lead to full interviews but still enables your brand to gain a little bit of visibility and to improve your ranking on search engines, which is a good enough reason.
For instance a few months ago, Julie, our marketing manager responded to a request looking for someone willing to describe the typical day of a marketing employee. Another backlink gained.
Using your expertise to respond to requests
Sometimes, journalists are looking for tips or comments rather than case studies. This type of requests is very interesting for a business or an organisation because it allows you to position your company as an expert and therefore to reinforce your positioning on your target market and build your brand profile.
For instance, we responded to a request from a journalist looking for tips on Crisis management for a piece for the Guardian or more recently, to a journalist looking for tips on how your body language can make or break your funding pitch for Forbes.
Top tips to be great in an interview
Having now insisted enough on the benefits of responding to media requests, we’d like to share the best tips to be successful in an interview.
When you've secured an interview with a journalist, how best should you get your messages landed?
It’s very easy to be complacent and assume that the journalist will firstly know what you want to see printed, and secondly will want to print it. So you need to seize the agenda on both counts.
Your approach should have three key preparation actions:
- Actually write down the three comments you would want the journalist to pick up on even if everything else got ignored.
Assume that what you say is going to get quoted word for word, so make sure you rehearse the words carefully but give the impression to the journalist that they have just tripped off your tongue. They are more likely to use them if they believe they have picked up your emotion, rather than have cooperated with you placing a quote.
- Before the interview, think through, and write down, the questions that you wouldn’t want to be asked
Then, work out what you would say if they are. The journalist will be trying to get a story that will attract interest. You need to make sure that that interest is in line with your agenda, and not a provocative article about something that will expose you and your business.
- Make sure the image that goes with the interview is a good one.
It is unlikely that you will get away with a picture with your brand logo heavily in it….but do try! It is far more likely the journalist will want a decent image of you. Make sure that whatever you provide is how you would want to be seen by your customers, and one that carries the ‘personality’ of your business.
During the interview:
- Don’t be glib.
Remember that everything that you say can be used in a quote with your name against it.
- Don’t get drawn into areas and topics that you don’t want to be quoted on.
- Keep your guard up.
There is no such thing as ‘off the record’ with a journalist.
- Treat the journalist as your best friend.
If you get a good story they will be.
As we said earlier, interviews are not the only interesting things you should expect from responding to journalist requests. Most of them will get you and your business more modest but still very valuable mentions. Feel free to check out our blog on how to successfully respond to media requests to maximise your chance of getting picked up and don't forget to check out our page for more info on the media request function of JournoLink.