"Hey Journalist/Producer/Podcaster....you don't know me but I think you would love what I'm selling and I'm not exactly sure who your audience is and what your style of writing is like but I need publicity and see that you work at the New York Times so I'm sure it's you who I should contact." ---Followed by a lackluster pitch and then... crickets. You don't hear anything back, not even a 'pass this time' email.
Do not be the 99.9% of people that do the above. Follow the below advice and you will be golden. Most people do not do this because we live in a world of instant gratification and words like 'cultivation', 'building relationships' and 'getting to know each other' are almost completely forgotten social acts.
But for those that take the time, who seek quality over quantity, MAJOR PUBLICITY is your destiny!
Before you ask anyone for publicity, do these two things
1. Cultivate .... YOUR media list
You don't need a crazy large media list. Aim for 10 golden nuggets. Don't send a press release about your spa opening to a tech reporter. Send it to an influential wellness blogger who has touched on what you offer in their previous posts.
Now the question of the day is, is local, regional, national or global press the right fit for you? Do you own a local business? Are you an individual whose territory is regional? Do you have plans to franchise? Can you offer your services to someone on the other side of the globe? Do you have a brick and mortar with no plans to expand?
My advice is start small and local. It's usually easier to get publicity in your backyard and then you can use that as leverage to get larger publicity wins.
2. Court...your media list
We live in an amazing time. Think of how much we can learn about someone's personality and interests in seconds just by cruising their Instagram. Use these amazing tools to your research advantage. In the 80s and 90s 'following' meant physically following, meeting in person, shaking hands, buying lunches and dinners (I still highly recommend this, its a kind gesture and relationship builder that should never go out of style) having VERBAL conversations (usually several times) to convince someone to feature you in their magazine/newspaper/tv show/etc.
I just want you to picture how much ground you can cover compared to 10 and 20 years ago. And EVERYONE who has WiFi has access to these tools.
First, play detective. Search social media profiles of journalists/producers/reporters/bloggers/influencers. Read their tweets. Pay attention to the comments on their posts. Is that your journalist? Are those people your audience?
Begin to converse with them without asking for a handout. Show genuine interest in their articles and beat.
Then, when you do reach out via email or phone, they recognize you and give you the time of day.
OH.... and remember, after they feature you, continue the waterfall of gratitude. Be an ambassador for them, send them other good fit stories that are not for your business. You never know when that person will get a promotion or go work for another higher up media publication. It happens ALL THE TIME. Be sincere. Be authentic and you will go far.