Business owners are busy people. I’m sure that’s not exactly news to any of you. The thing is, because of this, the business owners and management teams of the businesses we work with often forget quite how important it is to engage with the publications they actually want to be featured in.
We often ask leaders what publications they and their client base read. And we often get the same sort of responses: I don’t know, I don’t have time to read, it’s all just advertorial nonsense from our competitors anyway.
There are so many reasons that business owners absolutely must read the publications they want their business to be featured in. Some are perhaps a little more obvious than others. But today, we’re going to cover them all. Including how it’s a massive help with boosting your PR presence.
How do you know your business is the right fit for specific publications if you don’t even read it?
Lots of clients come to us with big-name publications they’d like to be featured in, sometimes its national newspapers and publications like Forbes and Refinery29, and other times it’s publications key to a particular industry like The Drum, TechCrunch or Property Week. The thing is, those publications are difficult to get into. Not impossible. But a challenge. And we can absolutely meet that challenge, but in order to break through in those popular publications, the content has to be absolutely spot on.
We try to be completely honest with our clients about whether or not a piece of news or thought leadership will be interesting to the media, or a specific publication. The reality is, some pieces, while strong articles and news pieces in their own right, just aren’t the right fit for the business owner’s dream publication. Perhaps it’s the subject matter, the style, the strength of the argument being made or even how the argument is made.
Business owners will be able to get a much better sense of this for themselves if they regularly read the desired publication. This will help them get familiar with the types of content the publication features and shares.
Why should a publication feature you when you don’t actively support it?
To expect to be featured in a publication that you don’t actively support and engage with can come across as rude and presumptuous to the very journalists you’re pitching to and trying to impress. They want to feature content from writers and thought leaders who respect and appreciate what they do as a publication. And it makes sense on your side too, what’s the point in being in a publication you don’t even like, or at least respect and understand the value of?
Not to mention, in a day and age where journalists are facing increasing pressure and smaller and local publications are having to close left right and centre, these publications deserve your support. If you need them to promote your business, then there has to be some give and take. You can read more about the importance of local press in a previous blog.
Read the publication, share your thoughts on the pieces on social media. If you think a piece is particularly pertinent, you could even reach out to the writer on social media and let them know how much you enjoyed it. And ideally, have at least one subscription for your company. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it really can be money well spent.
Engaging with the right publications gets you noticed
If you do the things I mentioned above like sharing the articles you read and reaching out to the journalists who wrote them, you will start to get noticed by the right people. Publications appreciate their readers, particularly those most loyal and engaged with the content they produce. If you share any thoughts sparked by the articles publicly, then you might find you’ve shared a take that the journalist is really interested in. You can get a rapport going and may even be able to provide quotes for a follow-up piece if you’re lucky.
Reading makes you a better business owner/ leader
Ultimately, reading the thoughts and opinions of others in your industry will make you a better leader. It will broaden your perspective, teach you about things you didn’t previously understand, and keep you updated with the latest innovations and developments in your sector. Reading is good for you. There are ample studies that say so. And if you struggle with reading for accessibility reasons, or any reason for that matter there are usually a few things you can do:
- Change what you’re reading – if it’s not interesting to you, then there will be other publications or articles that are
- Change how your reading – try audio formats like publication podcasts for example
But I really am time-poor!
The tough love answer to this is to make time. It’s an important part of your role. But I understand that there’s nuance here. And so, here’s a sneaky tip for those of you who want to read publications more but are genuinely struggling with finding the time due to business, childcare or other personal lifetime pressures:
Newsletters and bulletins – don’t have time to sit and read through an entire edition of a publication? No problem. Newsletters and bullets can provide a great summary of the biggest stories of the day. You can read them over breakfast, on your lunch, or even just skim over them with your morning coffee. Even just checking out the headlines on a REALLY busy day can go a long way in helping you understand the general goings on within a sector, though of course take the time to delve in deeper when you have the chance.
So, there you have it, plenty of reasons you should actually read the publications you want to be featured in. It’s really surprising how often this comes up.
I make a point of checking in with publications like PR Week, PR moment and Stylist (more for personal enjoyment) on a regular basis so I know what’s going on in the industry. I also read the bullets for all sorts of publications within the sectors we work in such as construction, advertising and marketing, business management and hospitality. And yes, it is my job, but arguably, it’s yours too!
So, get to it. Go get reading 🙂