As independent professionals, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is building your credibility. That’s why a little press can be a game changer. Press helps validate what clients have heard about you through word of mouth. It builds your reputation and makes you stand out from your competitors by allowing you to share the story behind your brand. With the right story, instead of having to search for new clients, they will start to seek you out.
EMBRACE YOUR STORY
The fact that you exist isn’t enough to get you featured in a magazine. You need a story. What’s newsworthy about you? Why should people want to write about you? What sets you apart from other people in your industry? Don’t worry — you don’t have to come up with something mind-blowing, it just has to be authentic and a little creative : )
Here are a couple examples of pros who have embraced their story/angle:
- Chicago hairstylist John George is famous for his smooth hair transformations. He has branded himself as the “Healthy Hair Guru,” and although he has many skills, he chose to focus on these mesmerizing before/after silk press videos because the internet loves them. One of his videos has over two million views! This is exactly the type of content online publications are looking for.
- HeyNiceNails stands out from the crowd because they’re a nail art sister duo. They are both incredibly talented, but a huge part of their charm is the fact that they’re a team — one sister specializes in nail styling and one specializes hard gel extensions. Their magical nail art is always fresh and inspiring and they’ve been featured in both magazines and online publications.
Once you establish what your story is, make it obvious! Make sure you have a well-written “about me” on your website and social profiles that summarizes your story and makes it easy for journalists to copy + paste. The content you post on Instagram should also back up that story. This is how you’ll start to form your brand– how do you want people to talk about you? What do you want to be known for?
REACH OUT TO PUBLICATIONS
No matter how great your story is, journalists aren’t going to line up at your door just because you updated your bio. You need to be proactive and reach out to publications that typically post content about your area of expertise.
- Do your research. Look up local and regional publications and make a list of blog outlets you want your business to appear in. Get a feel for the type of content they post and think like a journalist. How can you pitch your story in a way that would make them excited to feature you?
- Do the work for them. Journalists are usually juggling deadlines and under pressure to get the best new stories. When you do some of the work up front, they’ll be more open to your pitch. Plus, it just looks professional. Include things like quotes, stats, facts, links, and great photos. You can even pitch them a title. Include links to other similar articles they’ve posted in the past to show them you’ve done your research.
BE PREPARED WITH A PRESS KIT
When you finally do get the opportunity for some press, don’t miss out because you weren’t prepared. A press kit can be a page on your website (or just a folder on your computer) that makes it easy for reporters to quickly learn about your brand and access photos and marketing materials they can use. It should include your story, facts about your business, and high-resolution photos of you, your shop, and your work.
PRO TIP: Make sure you have a professional email address displayed on your website and social accounts. Journalists aren’t going to waste time searching for your contact info. Also, check your email regularly and get back to inquiries quickly. This isn’t just about your professional image, if you don’t respond to press quickly, they will move on.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE CREDITED
Finally, ALWAYS make sure you are credited properly. This is how potential clients and other publications will discover you. When you send your pitch, include an up-to-date link to your website. Once the article is posted, double check that your name/business name is spelled correctly and your website link is working properly.
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