Today we are introducing, or doubtless in some cases reintroducing, you to Charlotte Peters. Charlotte is an online journalist who writes regularly for Wedding Ideas Magazine, Huffington Post Weddings and a blog for the Dessy Group www.Wedbits.com.
Getting yourself ‘out there’ in the media is an important part of creating your brand as a wedding planner, growing your business and attracting new clients.
But how best can you do it? We asked Charlotte for her tips on what journalists really want and what they don’t want, so that you become the ‘go-to’ person for information and images on every aspect of wedding planning and get quoted regularly. Over to you Charlotte…
Back in day, it used to be that getting media coverage in the national press and key magazines was the goal. A mention in a top publication along with a photograph was a great achievement.
That’s still the case but if you’re media savvy, you need to be aware that online is the way ahead. A magazine may have a circulation figure of 30,000 readers a month – but a good online website with plenty of interesting articles, images and film clips could be attracting at least 100,000 visitors monthly or more– and that’s worldwide. Also your online content will stick around for a lot longer and if it’s well written and researched, you’ll also get pick up in Google search.
I’m often sent information from PRs who say ‘when is it going to be in the magazine’ who are then disappointed when I say it’s for online. Don’t be. Online is great. In addition, people are reading more and more stuff on the go – on their mobiles and on tablets – so you need to make sure that that’s where your information is going to end up.
Here are my other tips for getting the coverage you want by giving journalists and editors what they want. Let me know how you get on!
- Photography. If you want to be in a top blog, then you need to supply great high resolution photography. There’s a good article here explaining what this is. If you send low quality images they won’t reproduce well and won’t be compelling to look at. Print magazines will also have their own guidelines and will want high res too.
- Don’t send high res images via e mail! They take forever to download and can mess up mail boxes. Instead use a free service like Dropbox (which lets you file share) or HighTail.
- Label all your images clearly with what they are and give the photographer’s name too so that he or she can be credited. This is particularly important for images of real weddings.
- Remember that sending photographs and having a good image collection library is a really good way of getting coverage. Well captioned, relevant, good quality images sent on time are very likely to get used. (Having a press area on your website with downloadable images and press releases is really helpful.)
- Try and anticipate what journalists are likely to want. I’m not a big fan of long press releases just pushing a product. I’m much keener on press releases that show the benefits of a product in a roundabout way. For example, if you specialise on planning destination weddings, how about a timely press release on how to pack for a destination wedding – what clothes to bring and what to leave behind. Or what to have in a destination wedding bouquet? You have expert knowledge so prove it. You’re much more likely to have material like this used than if you just send a press release out saying something like “Mrs Wedding Planner is based in London and has just launched a new service ‘London Planning’ which helps the London bride get exactly what she wants.” Yawn, yawn. Much more interesting would be if you listed your top 10 London wedding destinations with a spectacular view – now that gives journalists something they can really work with! And photographs too please!
- Sometimes we have last-minute deadlines and it’s really productive to have a handful of close PRs to text for material, knowing that something useful is going to arrive in time. I have two wedding planners just like this – I’ve asked for last minute quotes at 10pm at night and they’ve got back to me by 8am next morning. Fabulous. And they get plenty of coverage as a result.
- Before you reply to a general press request sent out via a service like ‘Weddings4Media’ consider whether your product really is relevant. In the past I’ve put out a call for images of short wedding dresses and received just about every type of wedding dress and bridesmaid dress back – only 5% were relevant to my piece.
- If there’s a key journalist or blogger you’re targeting, follow their blog and their Twitter feed and see the sort of thing they’re writing about. Then you have a good idea of what to send them and what they might be looking for. It’s all about establishing good working relationships.
- Remember that a press release isn’t a sales pitch for you – it’s got to show a benefit of you. So think about what benefits your service offers that could be unique.
- Top tips and lists are always well received. Think about what you could write about. Maybe ‘Top 10 Things Brides Stress About On Their Wedding Days” with some real-life examples and how you dealt with them. I’d love to write a piece like that!
- Don’t forget social media like Twitter and Facebook. If your piece has appeared online or in a magazine, then Tweet and Facebook the link to it and mention the publication – they’ll get more coverage of the article and so will you. Also retweet mentioning the journalist if they have a Twitter name (and most will do).
Have you found the above helpful? What has been your experience of dealing with journalists and what has worked for you? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Thanks so much Charlotte – if you aren’t already, you can follow Charlotte on Twitter @Carlottenberg