Be Prepared for Press

Vintage Typewriter for writing articles

I write freelance articles. Sometimes on the behalf of clients, sometimes just because I’m interested in a subject and pitch to magazines. It’s not lucrative but its fun sometimes. I interview many companies and service providers. I like to give them ample time to prepare, often by inquiring via email ahead of time to set up an interview. I do my due diligence to research them or their company or product as much as possible. Some people are prepared and some aren’t. Guess who gets more accurate “free publicity” and marketing benefit out of my articles? Guess who I use again and again when I can? Guess who I pass work or sales referrals to?

It is important that you are prepared for press, whether you are seeking it out proactively, or not. What does this mean? Know your product, sit and write down the main “talking points” or features of your business, product, or service. Know what you WANT to get across about your brand. Be prepared to discuss your features and how you are different than a competitor. You don’t want to bad mouth a competitor, but know how you are different, this is important for your marketing as well! Plan what you want to say, and if given notice, do a little research into the publication’s target audience (or ask the interviewer) so you know how to position your remarks and what would be the best to focus on.

Here is a big one: have photos ready to send, where you can find them easily. Professional, high resolution photos. Especially important with products, but equally of you, if you are your business. Print publications need high resolution. This means MB size files, not kb size files. Ask the interviewer if they need or want photos, be proactive in providing those in a timely fashion. Pictures are definitely worth 1,000 words, and if you have an image to go with an article, it really boosts your impact out of a free marketing and PR tool.

Press, whether online or in print, can go a long way to reaching new people as well as give you credibility as an expert. But it is very important to get as much out of these opportunities as possible, and make yourself useful to the writer so that they think of you in the future. I’ve written product based articles, and then circled back and featured or pitched a business owner in a lifestyle piece later because they were pleasant, eloquent, and made my job easy. Think about how you’re interesting, as everyone has different angles. And be sure and stockpile some bullet points and photos ahead of time so you’re ready. After you gather these things up, you may want to pitch yourself or your product for some articles!