Is media publicity a key part of your photography marketing strategy? If not, I believe you’re missing a trick!
There are so many benefits of PR yet, despite this, it remains a widely misunderstood and underused marketing tool!
But this is where I come in…I want to help you leverage the power of media publicity to grow your photography business.
In this article, I’ll run you through some of the benefits of being featured in the media. I’m also going to challenge some common misconceptions about PR. I’ll also share some tips on how to get journalists to notice you and how to land media coverage. I hope this will inspire and encourage you to give PR a go!
What are the benefits of including publicity within your photography marketing strategy?
I’ve covered this in more detail in this article, What is public relations and how can it help your photography business? but here’s an overview of some of the benefits of PR:
- Publicity (being featured in high-authority newspapers, magazines or on TV, radio, podcasts or blogs), helps you to get noticed. The awareness you’ll gain helps you to reach new audiences including new potential clients and customers
- Being featured in the media is free! There is no cost to you, yet the valuable press mentions can be worth thousands of pounds! You earn the opportunity through providing quality content that the media publication values and wants to share
- Media publicity provides the opportunity to leverage the huge reach of established media audiences (so it can be a much quicker way of reaching hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands or more people who may be interested in your photography services)
- Media mentions are a credibility boost. Being featured in the press helps to position you as an expert and authority on a particular subject or niche of photography
- Press coverage and articles, interviews or mentions of you on authoritative blogs, podcasts and video channels help to build that important sense of ‘know-like-trust’
- PR can drive valuable ‘traffic’ to your website where visitors can learn more about your photography services, products and offerings
- Publicity can lead to growth in your online audience, your social media followers and your email marketing list
- And…it can help to generate and boost your enquiries and sales!
Now I hope you can see why I’m so passionate about helping photographers leverage the power of PR in their marketing?!
While it may take time and effort to secure PR opportunities, the potential return on your investment for your photography business can be significant!
So, let me ask you…
Is PR and media publicity part of your photography marketing strategy at the moment?
If not, keep reading! Now, I’m going to address three common misconceptions about PR and offer my perspective on them. I think photographers don’t use PR strategies in their businesses because these misunderstandings, about PR and how the media works, put them off.
I hope to reassure you though that it IS possible for you to get featured in the media, and that PR is an incredibly effective way to promote your photography business.
If you’ve yet to be featured in the media, publicity could well be the missing piece in your photography marketing strategy!
Three common misconceptions about PR
1. You need to have something ground-breaking or new to share for a journalist or media publication to be interested in you
I believe that many photographers may not put themselves forward for media opportunities because they are afraid of potentially being rejected. They are afraid of being told that the images they have to share, or what they have to say, is not good enough or not interesting enough.
That fear of rejection and potential scrutiny is in all of us and, if you let it, it can really hold you back!
Yes, having outstanding photography, a great story or an irresistible news hook is going to increase your chances of securing publicity.
But the truth is that you can still get featured in the media even if you aren’t an industry-leading photographer or if you don’t have fresh or exciting news to share.
Journalists are always looking for comment from experts, colourful stories and experiences, snappy soundbites and statistics. First-person accounts and real-life examples provide a valuable and engaging human interest angle, as well as add depth and context to their articles, editorial features and talk shows.
So, rather than provide the news yourself, you could comment on something that’s happening within the photography industry or the wider world. Or you could share your opinion on something.
Reacting and commenting on breaking news or wider industry trends is a technique known as ‘newsjacking’.
Related reading: How to use newsjacking to promote your photography
Or, another way to get featured in the media as a photographer despite having no ‘news’ is to pitch your products to the editors compiling seasonal gift guides. This would be relevant if you are a travel, landscape or wildlife photographer, for example, who sells photography products such as photo prints, calendars or wall art.
Gift guides are collated in many national newspapers and glossy magazines throughout the year, and particularly ahead of key gifting events such as Christmas.
Simply share your photography product with the journalists responsible for compiling these guides and you may get chosen to be featured!
2. You need to know journalists personally to get your foot in the door
Don’t have any journalist friends or a little black book of media contacts? No problem!
I don’t believe what some PR agencies will have you believe; that you need to be on first name terms with journalists for them to consider featuring you in their articles or features.
If you’ve ever been put off from pitching to journalists because you worry that you don’t stand a chance of being featured, then think again!
It’s entirely possible for you to secure media publicity for your photography business without having established media contacts or journalist friends.
Strong contacts can help you to have your pitches and emails noticed, yes. But, what matters more to almost all journalists is whether what you have to share is worthy of their attention and whether the story, the news or information will interest their audience.
So, focus on providing the journalists you reach out to with relevant, interesting and timely information. Not knowing them beforehand should not necessarily work against you!
3. If you haven’t heard anything back from a journalist after you’ve pitched them a story or idea, presume it’s a no!
This final one is a common myth about PR that I’m keen to quash! As strange as this might sound, if you get no response from a journalist or media publication after pitching them, their lack of response may not necessarily mean ‘no’.
There are so many reasons why a journalist may not respond to a pitch you sent them. For example:
They didn’t receive it
An obvious one perhaps, but it’s so important to check that you have the correct contact information before submitting your pitch to the media. Sending an email to the wrong editor on a publication, or to someone who is on maternity leave or has left the post will be a waste of time.
You can’t rely on a journalist’s goodwill to forward your pitch to their more relevant colleague or to let you know about staff changes. Hence, you need to do your research first!
Related reading: How to find journalists’ contact details
It may have been missed
Your email may not have been opened at all. Journalists are usually drowning in emails, receiving hundreds daily. So, even if you do get their contact details right, you may not have heard back from a journalist simply because your email didn’t actually get read!
This is why follow-ups are worth sending if you’re very confident in the relevance and quality of the pitch. (Please don’t resend poor, badly targeted pitches – this will only put you in a journalist’s bad books!)
The subject line of the email may not have attracted their attention
Subject lines in email pitches are really important. They help a journalist to decide whether or not to even open the email to find out what’s inside.
Your subject line may have just failed to intrigue or interest them. This is not a reflection of the quality of your idea or your photography. It’s worth remembering that, rather than dwelling on the fact that you didn’t get a response.
Instead, tweak and refine your subject line writing skills for next time.
The timing may not have been right
They may have liked the idea you pitched but decided to save it or file it away for future reference.
Timing is key in pitching the media. For sure, any journalist will be thinking ‘why is this relevant now?’ when considering your pitch. So, always consider this before hitting send.
The pitch may not have been right for them
There is a myriad of reasons why a journalist may not have felt your pitch or story was relevant to them or their publication.
For example, they may have felt it wasn’t relevant to their reader, viewers or listenership. They may simply not have liked what you were proposing. Or, perhaps, they have already covered a similar story. Be sure to have done your research beforehand to make sure your pitches ARE a great fit for the publication or media outlet concerned!
PR is a long-term photography marketing strategy
I know it can be frustrating to hear crickets after pitching to a journalist. But be assured, it happens to everyone at some point or another! Generally, journalists don’t have time to respond to every pitch they receive so they won’t let you know if it is a ‘no’, but this is not a reason to give up!
I would encourage you to recognise that PR is a long-term photography marketing strategy, much like SEO and pretty much all marketing! You might get some quick wins, but you also might find yourself having to wait to start gaining really significant traction.
So, keep up your media pitching efforts despite any setbacks such as not hearing back. You never know, your next pitch could be the one that gets you featured!
Be resilient and the results may come in time!
The tips I’ve shared with you today are based on experiences and learnings I’ve had during the 17 years that I have worked in PR.
As a PR consultant to photographers, I’m regularly pitching my clients to the media and would summarise my advice as:
- Please don’t assume that PR will not work for you. You won’t know until you try!
- PR skills can be learnt and developed so, even if you’re a PR novice, media publicity is still within your reach!
- Don’t take a lack of response from a journalist as a rejection or tell yourself that you aren’t worthy of being featured in the media. There are so many reasons why you may not have heard back!
Media publicity is a potentially very rewarding photography marketing strategy. So, my advice to you would be, just keep trying!
Related reading: Why are you not using PR to promote your photography business?
Will you adopt PR as a photography marketing strategy in 2021?
So, are you holding yourself back by not using PR? Have you been ignored by journalists before? Or have you had some PR successes?
Is PR a strategy that you’ve yet to try? Have I interested you in the idea of giving it a go? Or is PR already something you already focus on?
I’d love to hear from you. Do feel free to let me know how you feel about PR and media publicity in the comments section below.
Interested in PR to promote your photography business?
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