“When it comes to news, I’m an ocean that refuses no river. But when it comes to immersion — when I really want the four winds of news to blow me deeper into comprehension — my devotion to newsprint is almost cultistic.” — Jack Shafer, Senior Media Writer, POLITICO
Shafer’s emotional connection to the print medium is a sentiment shared by most news junkies. There’s nothing quite like holding a newspaper in your hands, sipping a strong cup of coffee, and completely submerging yourself in the experience of consuming news. Dare I compare it to listening to an album on vinyl versus on Spotify? I digress…
While online coverage offers more straightforward metrics for PR measurement, print and broadcast coverage can have a significant impact on overall brand awareness and organic traffic — particularly if you are thoughtful in your use of target keyword phrases during outreach. Not to mention, most print stories eventually make their way to the web.
If securing print coverage for your B2B tech company is a goal, you’ve got some stiff competition, because according to tech media analyst Sam Whitmore, “less than ten percent of top-tier print stories originate from a pitch.” Not impossible odds, but a number that does underscore the importance of hiring a professional to handle outreach. To increase your chances of becoming a ten percenter, consider the below advice.
Make sure your story has mass appeal.
There is prejudice in the mind of feature editors that no decent narratives come from B2B companies, which simply isn’t true. To combat this misconception, make sure you are putting your story in layman’s terms. If you were flipping through the pages of the Wall Street Journal or Entrepreneur, would you stop to read a story about the rise of AI Ops? With exception of BLASTmedia client Moogsoft’s exec team, probably not. Don’t use terms that go over the average business reader’s head. Instead, find a story that everyone can relate to — be it a culture story, a founder story or a story about success. Just make sure your story appeals to the casual reader on its own merit. Bottom line: you shouldn’t have to have any prior knowledge about the subject matter to read the article. And, to play devil’s’ advocate, don’t be boring. As Fast Company’s Rich Bellis would say, “tell me why I should care.”
Leverage the power of visuals.
Stories aren’t stories without visuals, and visuals sometimes get the backseat treatment by storytellers. Consider this: feature editors have to get someone to stop flipping the page and read the story. So, what visuals can you offer to accompany your narrative? According to Whitmore, “visuals are the single most important factor for what makes a print story in 2018.” If choosing between three different 1,200-word articles with the same theme, an editor will always choose the article with the strongest visual to run in print. Although they’re unlikely to run photos that they didn’t take themselves (shrinking editorial budgets may change that in the near future), asking your team to add a photo to their pitch, or at least describing how they picture the story looking from a visual perspective, will give you an edge. Flip through a few print issues, and consider what could work for your B2B tech company. Lifestyle photos from the office? A graphic or chart? An illustration of the cityscape? Don’t be afraid to get creative.
Consider the outlet’s audience, not your own.
Landing a print feature makes you a partner in audience development for that print issue. Meaning that your story should represent the aspirational wants and needs of the target audience. Because magazine and newspaper subscriptions are hugely discounted, print operations live and die by getting new circulation, so the success of your issue on newsstands, in airports, etc. is critical. To pique interest, build core concepts of the magazine or newspaper you are pitching into your email. Pitching Forbes? It’s all about wealth. Emailing Fortune? It’s all about power. You are an extension of the magazine’s marketing team, and can’t shirk responsibility for helping to build print readership.
If you’re in need of a “team of rockstars” to help secure coverage for your B2B tech company, or want to discuss which type of coverage can impact your business goals (hint: it’s not always print), shoot an email to Lindsey Groepper. And for good measure, I’ll leave you with one last quote from Shafer’s 2016 ode to print news:
“News is best sipped like whiskey, not chugged like beer.”