Freelancing is awesome. Being your own boss, working with who you want and doing your own thang is fab. That’s why you set up as a freelancer in the first place.
However, sometimes it is a tough gig. Increasing competition, trying to attract the right clients, finding a consistent stream of income, finding your niche, invoicing…it’s enough to drive any sane biz owner bonkers!
PR can often be an area that freelancers overlook when faced with a million tasks, so the question I often get asked is how can you do your own publicity quickly and effectively to boost your profile, get noticed and get clients knocking on your door for a change?
Here’s my 5-step process to pitching for some media coverage:
Step 1: Find your niche
With anything marketing and communications if you know who your target market or ideal client is your job is going to be soooo much easier. So, if you’re targeting big corporates, which job role are you targeting in that company, what are their pain points and how can your services help them?
Try this, too. If you’re targeting engaged couples, pick the person most likely to be seeking you out and making the purchase decision, make up a name for her, her age, social status, hopes and fears and write it down and pin it up in your workspace, so you have your ideal client in mind at all times.
Step 2: What are they reading?
So now you don’t just have a faceless company or ‘small businesses’ or ‘women’ that you’re targeting, you have a customer profile of a ‘real’ person. Now, what are they reading? Are they listening to the radio on the way to work, do they watch business shows, do they read the local paper or whatever is on their Facebook feed?
How do you know? Ask your current clients. Set up a quick SurveyMonkey and send it out to your list or current/past clients asking them a couple of questions so you can build a bit of a media list. Then, do some research and find phone numbers and emails of journalists or producers who work there.
Step 3: Get in contact
I’ve helped a lot of entrepreneurs get in contact with the media themselves and the best way to do it is either by phone or email. Also, I would suggest follow them on Twitter and/or LinkedIn too, to cover all bases.
Journos, producers and editors are constantly on the look-out for awesome stories to fill magazines, newspapers, online and radio and TV programs, yours could just be the next one!
So the big question is what do you say in an initial email pitch to a journalist? Here are a couple of examples:
“I have spent 5 years photographing weddings and would love to give some advice to your readers on how to pick a wedding photographer that is right for them.”
“As a graphic designer who works with the biggest corporates in Australia I have some great information on trends I’m seeing in the design of social media sharables I think your business audience would be really interested in.”
“I work with companies around the world creating web copy which has led to over $3million in sales for my clients, I’d be honoured to contribute to any stories you are writing at the moment.”
Keep emails short and use bullet points to illustrate potential articles you could write for them, and show areas of expertise. Also, see how you can sell how awesome you are in a couple of sentences. Don’t go too into detail, but really pull out what makes you unique or what makes you an expert in your field.
If you can, try to tailor your pitch to something that is happening in the media at the moment, try to use statistics to back up any points you make, always keep the media outlets target audience in mind and don’t go the hard sell.
Step 4: Get opportunities to your inbox
If you haven’t heard of Sourcebottle and you’re looking for media opportunities, subscribe to this awesome free service now. As soon as you see something come up that you can contribute to, whip out your bio and write a short and sweet response targeted at what they’re looking for and attach a head shot.
Step 5 – Use dynamic content
Photographic and video content is one thing journalists are always on the look-out for. Video content is specifically of interest for TV opportunities, however, it’s not a deal-breaker.
If you don’t have professional head shots I really would suggest you invest in some.
Social proofing by getting your business into the media is such an awesome way of establishing your credibility as a professional, so take the plunge, you never know what doors it may open.