Beyond Product Placement: 5 Tips to Pitch Business Media


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Written by Danielle Gano

While maintaining regular placements in fashion media is a must for apparel and accessories brands, there is also a lot of value that can be found in securing coverage in business and news outlets – particularly when you have a unique story to tell. While the readership of this media segment can serve as customers, business and news placements can also aid a company in securing investment money, improving their image to investors or meeting other business development goals. Of course, these reporters can’t be approached in the same way you would approach a fashion writer. Save the trends, fabrics and new collections – they want to hear a story about innovation. Here are some key tips to employ when reaching out to this important media vertical:

Focus your story on one key point of differentiation.

At Elle, we solely work with brands who are eco-friendly, fair trade, humanitarian or otherwise making the world a better place through their business. So, for example, with Sseko Designs we focus our business outreach on their model of providing college education for women in Uganda in exchange for a nine-month work program. The more novel your story, the more likely you will be to garner feature stories.

Use vivid visuals or offer to help them capture visuals.

Our client Raven + Lily is currently employing HIV+ women in Ethiopia to make beautiful jewelry from melted down bullets. Not only do we use images and quotes from the women they work with and the process of melting down bullets when telling this story, but we also are taking a small group of reporters into the community in Ethiopia next week to help them capture the story for their own publications. Paint a clear picture of the story up front and then help a reporter access individuals or information that they might not be able to collect on their own.

Be extreme.

To support your key point of differentiation, it’s helpful to be the first, the biggest, the oldest or the only. When working on the Made for Good brands, we focus on the fact that it is the only collective of charitable brands in the country. By being the first or the only at something, you’re able to set your client apart in a saturated media space. Just be sure that our point of extremism is a point the media will actually care about.

Provide an exclusive.

When working on the launch of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s DNA Foundation launch of “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” video series, we had a unique task at hand. We had big names both behind and in front of the camera and a story we knew would garner a lot of placements regardless of our strategy, but of course everyone involved wanted to maximize that. So, the team worked on securing several exclusives with sites that would serve as the launch points for the campaign, meaning they would get the videos before anyone else in exchange for the promise of key placements like homepages of their sites. If the outlet is big enough – let’s take TIME Magazine or the Wall Street Journal for example – you can often provide an exclusive and then sit back and watch other interview requests roll in once the story goes live. Just be sure to clearly outline what you mean by “exclusive” with the outlet – often times it only means that they get the story first, but once it’s live you’re free to give it to others.

Offer a solution.

At Elle, we’re lucky to work with brands that are change the world and making it a better place. When talking about our clients to the media, we try to hone in on the problem that exists, why they should care and how this company has created a sustainable solution to the issue. Pull facts and stats from reputable organizations such as the World Health Organization and then partner that with numbers, facts and proof that what your client is doing has the potential to provide a real solution.

Danielle Gano is the founder and CEO of Elle Communications, a PR boutique with offices in Los Angeles, New York and San Diego that focuses on working with eco-friendly, fair trade, humanitarian and social good brands. Join their conversation on Twitter at @ellecomm.