(DGIwire) — In The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, is known for instilling fear in her editorial staff. When one of her editors modestly suggests running a floral spread for their upcoming spring issue, Priestly rolls her eyes and cuttingly replies: “Floral? For spring? How groundbreaking.”
Although the movie portrays fictional characters, it accurately demonstrates the cutthroat publishing world. Increased costs for newspapers and magazines have driven many publications to beef up their online content, making their websites as reputable as their print editions. Even The New York Times’ website only allows users to read a certain number of articles per week unless they pay for a subscription.
This presents an even bigger challenge for new companies hoping to get a feature article in a well-known publication. Reporters are under stress from their editors, who are in turn under stress from their editors-in-chief. If the majority of top editors are anything similar to Miranda Priestly, a company attempting to get its name out to the public stands little chance.
Fortunately for up-and-coming companies, and even established ones that want to increase their visibility, public relations professionals have the know-how to attract the media attention their clients deserve. Dian Griesel, Ph.D., the author of ENGAGE: Smart Ideas to Get More Media Coverage, Build Your Influence, & Grow Your Business, and President of DGI Comm, an award-winning media relations and news placement agency based in New York City, offers these necessary steps for locating and successfully landing the right media contacts:
- Do the research. Read all the appropriate trade and consumer magazines. Identifying publications that are in tune with a company’s product, service or message will lead to the reporters, editors and producers who will want to cover the company.
- Get to know the reporters. Learn what type of articles specific reporters write. Each one has a different beat, so if a business is retail-based, a reporter who primarily writes about restaurants and nightlife should not be contacted. Pay attention to where competitors advertise, because then it will be clear which reporters and publications might be interested in a company.
- Show an interest. Demonstrating familiarity with a reporter’s work will increase the chance of eliciting a response. When a reporter is contacted, say, “Considering your interest in this topic, I thought you might like to know about (insert your company).” Think of it as a courtship—mutual interest and respect must be present for it to work.
- Don’t get discouraged. Getting a story in print or on a prominent website might require contacting four, five or even more editors and publications before finding one who will listen to a pitch. Send out a new round of pitches each month—eventually one journalist (for newspapers and magazines) or producer (for TV and radio) will bite.
“Take it from me, persistence pays,” says Dian. “If someone believes their story is worthy of publication, they must keep calling and emailing until they find the right reporter or editor. Rejection doesn’t mean that the publication is not appropriate for the story—it might just mean that the right reporter has yet to be found.”