The Sneaky Trick to Score National Press Using your Blog

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It happens every day.

You peel open the pages of your favorite magazine and “wham!” Your competitor is staring at you from those glossy pages like a smack in the face.

So how do YOU score national press coverage just like your competition in magazines, newspapers, radio or TV shows?

Hint: it has to do with your blog.

With all the cool social media tools we have available to us, we no longer have to wait for the press to tell our story. Blogging provides the perfect platform for us to share all of our goods as often as we’d like.

Now, writing super juicy blog posts is one thing. Scoring national press from them is a whole different ball game. Follow these tips to turn your blog into a press-generating machine.

Blog Like the Cover of a Magazine

Every media outlet follows an editorial schedule, and I know Laura would second this notion of creating an editorial calendar for your blog. If you want the national press to stand at attention, you have to blog about things that they are actually covering. For example, if you notice almost every outlet will talk about  “spring cleaning” in March or “beating the heat” in July or August. Simply follow those editorial trends and you’re that much closer to engaging the press.

Headline Happiness

A great headline is key. But what if you really suck at writing headlines? Then you need a date with Barnes and Noble.

Get a copy of every single magazine that aligns with your brand. Then make your own headline “swipe file.” Write down words and phrases found on the cover and inside pages of magazines that ‘speak’ your brand. For example, a magazine that fits my brand is SELF (happy, healthy and fun) and some words and phrases include ‘so-simple,’ ‘cheat sheet,’ best summer ever,’ ‘maximum motivation,’ and ‘secrets to a stronger you.’ You’ll see I use variations of these words and phrases in my blog and other marketing materials.

Re-work, Re-use, Recycle

Don’t expect the media to stumble upon your amazing blog. Go to them with this so-simple strategy (see, told you I could use something from my last tip!)

Every single blog you write can easily be re-worked and recycled into a clear, concise, and compelling pitch. You can alert a small list of targeted media outlets each time you blog by emailing them a short, personal pitch letter on the blog topic and provide the link to your post if they’d like to read further. You can also re-use older blog posts to correspond with media deadlines. For example:

Dear xx,

I hope are well and finally enjoying the glimmer of warm weather! With Spring right around the corner and bathing suit season not far behind, I recently wrote a blog post on at-home spa treatments that provide a head-to-toe glow for half the price. These treatments use items that are found in most kitchens – including yogurt, honey, brown sugar, and banana. Please feel free to use all or any parts of this blog for <media outlet name> as long as you cite <your name, your website address> as the source. I am also available for interviews on this topic. I have copied the blog post below and provided a link to the post below for your convenience. Thank you in advance for your consideration!

Bonus hint: if you have seriously no clue how to write a pitch letter, I have an entire eBook that shows you how for FREE.

Watch your Deadlines

If you’re using the recycle method, be aware of media deadlines. While newspapers, TV and radio typically work close to deadline (booking interviews and writing stories anywhere from 1-6 weeks ahead), magazines are quite different. National magazines work about 3-6 months in advance of deadline. So if you’re pitching a national magazine a story on spring in March, they promptly toss your pitch in the trash bin. Magazines work on June, July and August issues in March. This means you may need to dip into last year’s blog posts and see what you can re-work to fit this summer’s trends.

Comments Away

I was chatting with an editor at a major magazine recently about how many pitches she receives from business owners just like you. She said “Do you know how many people pitch me every day? Hundreds. Do you know how many comment on my blog? Maybe one a week.”

How can we expect the media to give us attention when we don’t reciprocate?

Homework for everyone reading this post. If you want national media coverage, go and do some research. Do the magazines, TV shows, newspapers, or radio shows you desire have a blog? If yes, read those blogs regularly and comment often! This is a great way to build relationships with the media and, if your blog posts are relevant, offer a complimentary or conflicting viewpoint, or additional information on the topic, you can often post a link to it in the comments section. A win-win for both parties!

 

 

 

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Melissa CasseraMelissa Cassera helps business owners score millions of dollars in free advertising using the power of publicity. Download her free eBook on how to pitch the media like a pro at www.casseracommunications.com

Comments

  1. I’m patting myself on the back while worshiping you at the same time Melissa. I was just cruising around Women’s Health, Self, Shape and all other such websites for headline ideas…your tips on how to reach them and commenting on blogs also timely as I’ve been working on “woo-ing” people to align myself with a la Laura & Marie’s advice from B School.

    Will be scheduling a date with B&N pronto and also reworking some of my favorite posts into pitches. Your sample was super helpful. My question is, how do you find their contact info? Is it usually hiding somewhere on the site? do you search the author’s name on FB or LinkedIn?

    Thank youuuu!!

    • Thanks Liz! So, the magazines typically follow the same format by publishing house. For example, all Hearst magazines are firstinitiallastname@hearst.com. Condenast is firstname_lastname@condenast.com. Meredith is firstname.lastname@meredith.com. That covers most of them!

      For anyone else, you can either Google the name with the word email (so, example, ‘Melissa Cassera Marie Claire Email’

      Same goes for freelance writers, just google their first and last name, most have websites.

      Also, Media Bistro is a very inexpensive site with a yearly membership of about $60 and they have a How to Pitch section which also includes contact information. Very reasonably priced.

      Good luck – have fun at the bookstore!

  2. Hi Melissa,

    Great thorough list of steps to follow! As for the headlines, that’s an area I can always improve on. I keep a moleskine with me at all times and jot down tentative post titles all the time (whether I’m at the bookstore the coffee shop or just out and about). Makes it easy to come back to and rework that title!

    • Thanks Ricardo! Yes headline writing takes constant work. Even bestselling authors and writers for national magazines put a lot of time and effort in headlines, so you’re not alone! I personally write between 10-30 headlines for each pitch I send to the media and then narrow it down to the best one. :)

  3. Melissa,

    This post is FULL of awesome ideas! Thank you so much for sharing them. :)

    I love using Evernote to store all my headline and post ideas – I can write it in text, take a snapshot of it when I’m out and about or even record a voice message to myself.

    Thanks again, Melissa!
    Heather

  4. Great tips! I just recently started a blog for my company, so these tips will serve me well. Thanks.

  5. Hi Melissa,

    I really enjoyed this post! Lots of great advice :) Your note about the comments is so important. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish in your business, it’s absolutely crucial to develop and foster those relationships. Such an important way to help your business stand out, especially if as in your example, your competitors aren’t doing it.

    • Thanks Martina! Yes this is HUGE and you don’t know how many journalists say this to me. They are astonished that no one takes the time to read/comment, but expects them to cover their business. :)

  6. Wonderful post and great idea. I know a number of local editors who often look to the community and other professionals for content in their publications due to lack of staffing resources. The plus side is they have the SEO and readership on their site to give your blog post the coverage that will help drive business!

  7. OH! I sooooooooo needed this! Creating a great headline really is key and can totally be challenging. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Hi,
    Thanks for the great tips! And I’m already using one of them….commenting on the blog! It’s so simple, yet really important.

    Thanks,
    Nicola

  9. Synchronicity, I have been thinking this is my next step. Love the way you write!

  10. Hey Melissa – this is a great post! Super helpful! I just signed up to get your newsletter, but wanted to tell you that the little form in the sidebar of your site (with the Perfect Pitch” ebook cover) seems to be broken. You can add your info but when you click on submit it goes to an error page for me. I was able to sign up just fine in the main column of your site, though. Thought you would want to know. Thanks again for your great ideas!

    Cheers,
    Beth

  11. Great stuff, Melissa. My 2011 goal beginning now — be an active participant on blogs of the people I follow or check in on. Also love the gratitude post on your blog. :)

  12. Super useful, thanks so much Melissa. I hadn’t thought to send magazines/newspapers links to previous blog posts that they could recycle, I assumed they’d always want fresh content. Are they generally happy to have non-exclusivity?

    I’ve signed up for your free e-book! :)

    Corrina (in Cambridge, UK)

    • Thanks Corinna! While some might use excerpts from the blog (I’ve had both magazines and newspapers do this) it usually is intended to spurn interest on the subject. Then they can interview you to get fresh new advice. Or, it just might spark their interest on a relevant topic and they’d be interested in using you as the expert source :)

  13. You scored big-time with me (and fellow bloggers) on this guest post, Melissa. Love your tips!

  14. Thanks Melissa!

    Great tips and I really appreciate the part about posting on a journalist’s blog too…

  15. Thank you for this information. I try to comment on blogs such as yours but I had not thought of a magazine/journalist’s blog.

    Laura,
    Thank you for continuing to find such resources for the small business owner. I am sure it keeps you busy but your site has tremendous educational value.

  16. Loved this article Melissa! And nice to meet you :-)

    These tips are great! I shall be saving this one for sure and adding it to my exclusive collection of Awesome Tips, especially the one about deadlines AND the other one about following magazines…Oh and the one about… You know what? Every tip was great! LOL.

    Will definitely be heading over to your site right now. Many blessings to you :-)

  17. Thanks Melissa – these are such great tips and I love the way you write. I especially like the reminder that publications plan their content 3-6 months ahead of time. I tend to struggle with planning ahead, so your article just prompted me to put reminders in my calendar to brainstorm topics for the season that’s coming up 4 months from now!

    I also started writing down magazines that are in sync with my brand and message – will be getting my ass to Barnes and Noble this week to pick some up. Thank you!

  18. This was good stuff. I’m gonna use this, thank you Melissa
    and Laura. :)

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