Getting media coverage for your e-Commerce store is an artform in itself, but it's not rocket science. Here is the first part of your guide on how to do PR for your webshop.
As an e-Tailer, it can be a challenge to find time for anything else than overcoming the immediate and tangible challenges connected to running a successful business - especially when you are still in the start-up phase.
But reserving a little time every week for PR can prove to be one of your best investments.
Because getting your e-Commerce store in the media is perhaps the most effective way to boost brand awareness, which can generate more sales and build trust around your business.
But even though PR (usually) costs little or nothing in terms of money spent, it can quickly eat up one of your most valuable assets - time.
So to make it a little less complicated for you to get your name out there in the news streams, here is the first part a basic guide on how to get PR for your e-Commerce store:
1. Think it through
Before you do any PR, you need to consider how your business and/or person can be portrayed as a result.
You may contact a journalist with a specific agenda in mind, but it might be a more or less different angle that this journalist finds newsworthy.
This is not at all bad - after all, the journalists are the experts on this field. You just need to accept that once you have made your pitch, the story is out in whatever version the media find relevant.
2. Think like a journalist
Place yourself behind the desk of the journalist you are contacting.
Would you (honestly) be interested in your story? If not, what can you do to change this?
3. Talk like a person
I recently watched an interesting presentation by a journalist from the Danish media Zetland, who gave some great advise on contacting journalists.
One thing she stressed was that too many people seem to forget a very basic thing - journalists want to work with people - not PR agents or marketing managers.
Let your personality shine through and address the journalist like a colleague - not an opportunity.
4. Do your homework
Have your finger on the pulse.
What subjects preoccupy the media right now and how can you fit your story into this agenda?
5. Plan ahead
Journalists are extremely busy and might not have time to write a quality piece about an event tomorrow if you contact them today.
So be sure to think 2 steps ahead and give the media a fair chance to move on a story.
6. Pick your match
It's tempting to go big from the start and pitch your story to the biggest news channels you can think of. And don't get me wrong - they might be dying to bring your story.
But chances are that the most relevant media for your story is a blog or a niche media dealing specifically with that specific subject.
...Which isn't bad.
Okay, your story might not get as many views if it is posted on an expert's blog rather than on the website of a national news paper, but the people reading the blog might be the exact audience you want to target.
7. Exclusivity is sexy
Better to spend more time contacting individual journalists with pitches addressed specifically to them than binge-pitching your story by sending the same email to every thinkable media.
Remember that journalists receive endless amounts of press releases and pitches every day - they can recognize a generic email coming from miles away.
8. Perfect your pitch
Again, journalists are busy and don't necessarily have the time or the patience to read through hundreds of words before getting the information they need.
So, make sure to make a descriptive subject line and keep your pitch short and to the point.
9. Write. Don't call
It's often better to pitch your story in an email, where you are sure to deliver the perfect pitch and where the journalist can read it in his/her own time.
You can then consider following up over the phone (but don't hold your breath. Truth is that if you haven't heard back within 24-48 hours, your story probably wasn't relevant).
Of course this is only a piece of advise based on experience and there will be many people advising you to do the exact opposite.
So, if you have experienced great results pitching your story over the phone or just hate writing emails, then keep doing what you do best.
10. Be contactable
Don't make the journalist work to get in touch with you.
Leave a direct number to make you easily available for any potential questions or comments.
That was part 1 of the basic guide on how to get PR for your e-Commerce store. Stay tuned for part 2, where we'll present 9 different strategies for getting your online business in the news..