I hope you're enjoying my guest bloggers as much as I am! We are all in this entrepreneur game together, my friends. Catch my last post for a convo straight from the folks at Instagram, but first read on to hear from a fabulous publicist and influencer, Molly Schoneveld! We recently met up in LA so Molly could share her tips on getting published.
Molly is the president of SW PR Shop, a boutique entertainment and lifestyle public relations firm formed in 2008. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, she specializes in entertainment talent as well as luxury lifestyle brands. The same year she started her business, she launched her lifestyle blog called This Yuppie Life, which has given her a unique perspective on the influencer space.
Liz: In terms of crafting a pitch, whether it be to ask a media outlet to be published or to secure a brand partnership for your blog, what are some of your main recommendations?
DO YOUR RESEARCH! Know something about who you are pitching. If it’s a media outlet, read multiple stories especially from whomever you are pitching and try to make reference to something specific so they know you’ve done your homework. If it’s a brand, pay attention to what types of partnerships they have done and actually use the product before you pitch. You want to be able to truthfully say that you are a fan of the brand and have used their product or service.
KEEP IT SHORT, YET IMPACTFUL. This is the challenge of pitching. You have a lot to say, but about 1-2 short paragraphs in which to say it! Edit down your pitch so that you get your main ask within the first few sentences.
YOUR PHOTOS MATTER. When pitching, only embed one low res image within the email and then send a Dropbox link with the rest. Nobody likes having their email inbox clogged up.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE BOTTOM LINE! I say this a lot, but you have to remember this is a business. Whether you are pitching yourself to the media or to a brand, you have to know what you bring to the table and tell them how you can add value. If it’s media, it might be beautiful, free images and a story you know will resonate with their readers. If it’s a brand, you will need to share analytics or better yet, a case study that shows that by working with you they will get something valuable.
Liz: Do you recommend that bloggers reach out to brands directly or should they reach out to PR agencies when they want to work with a company?
Molly: I recommend both. PR agencies are great because they represent multiple brands, and often times have a lot of control over who the brand works with. Offer to take the publicist to lunch or see if you can go into their office for a quick meet/greet. Face time goes a long way. A lot of brands have an in house team that oversees partnerships. I utilize Linkedin a lot to find the right contact.
Liz: Can you share how a blogger or brand can go about using HARO (Helpareporter.com) to get more press features?
Molly: HARO is a tool that is completely free—all you have to do is subscribe. Three times a day, a list is emailed with inquiries from reporters looking for sources for specific stories. The key with HARO is to only pitch yourself when there is a perfect fit. Don’t try to stretch to fit a mold that just isn’t you. These reporters get lots of responses, so make sure you really read the inquiry and follow the rules exactly, otherwise you risk annoying the reporter.
Liz: Besides HARO, how can you go about getting yourself press such as magazine coverage or a guest podcast feature?
Molly: At least 90% of my business is about building relationships. If you own a local boutique, for example, you need to start meeting freelance writers who write for your local media and/or editors at those outlets. Look to see what press other boutiques have gotten in your area and start making a list. The media likes new and they like “newsy”—meaning you will have better luck pitching yourself as a brand if you are either brand new OR you have something new to report. I have had great luck pitching myself first to people I have a prior relationship with and also providing free professional images.
Podcasts are really the hot place to be right now because they are so niche. Even if a podcast doesn’t have a huge audience, you can know for certain that those that tune in care about the topic. Personally, I only pitch myself/company to people that I have a relationship with and that I know cover people like me.
Liz: A lot of bloggers & small businesses don't have a budget to work with a PR team on a recurrent basis, so are there other ways to form a mutually beneficial relationship with a publicist?
Molly: The reason having a publicist is such a large investment (and the reason I have a career) is that pitching media is incredibly time consuming. It takes thoughtful research and a lot of outreach that can go unanswered. I hear all the time (and I totally agree!) that it is SO hard and sometimes awkward to pitch youself. I offer a consulting package that is way less than hiring my firm on retainer. I have worked with bloggers and business owners on getting their materials in order, crafting a pitch, brainstorming ideas and oulets. Finding a consultant who can be your cheerleader and someone to bounce ideas off of can be a less expensive way to get PR help. I essentially tell you what to do and then you go do it!
I also wrote a whole blog post on 9 free ways to promote your business, so for more tips check it out: https://www.thisyuppielife.com/2017/11/13/9-free-ways-to-promote-your-business/
WOW! I can't wait to implement some of Molly's awesome strategies! If you know you're one of those people that's terrible at pitching yourself, check out her website for more info on her PR consulting. If you want to give it a try to put yourself out there more, make sure you read my "Secrets to a Better Pitch for Bloggers" post (which has a template for crafting a better pitch). If you found this as helpful as I did, please share on Pinterest!
images c/o Lish Creative