How to pitch to get free press for your business

Every business owner secretly longs for that super fancy ‘As Featured In’ bar filled with big-name publications on their website.

Elise Darma Free Press business pin.png

You know the ones I’m talking about.

(You can see my super, duper fancy bar here.)

When I first started my business, I would dream about being featured in Forbes or Entrepreneur, and I knew that once I had this impressive ‘As Featured In’ bar — it would mean I had officially made it.

Well, guess what? Getting those features is easier than you think.

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I recently chatted with online friend Krista Gray, founder of GoldSquare and a top-notch freelance writer who has written for some of the world's biggest online publications.

I'm talking Brit & Co, The Muse, Business Insider, Being Bold and more!

During our chat, we spoke about how she quit her day job in tech, founded her own business and started landing pitches in leading publications — all with zero previous experience.

And today, Krista and I are spilling all the beans.

So if you're on a tight budget and want to get eyeballs on your website, here's how to pitch to get FREE press for your online business.

Two Ways to Find Pitching Opportunities

1. Create a Spreadsheet of Publications

The summer Krista quit her job in Silicon Valley, she went to Europe.

In between sipping on espressos in Italy and sangria in Spain (#thelife), she created a spreadsheet that would become the blueprint for her freelance writing success.

Every day, she would find publications she wanted to write for and then add the editor's email address to her Excel spreadsheet.

Soon enough, Krista had over 200 names and emails.

With no knowledge of pitching, she created a mail merge in Gmail (a feature where you can send personalized mass emails) and started reaching out to the editors.

In Krista’s own words:

"I would write: 'Hi [editor’s name], I'm in Europe this summer. This is my background, and I'm writing about topics related to this. I don't know if you're interested in featuring stories like that, but if you are, I'd love to learn more.'"

Though she only heard back from roughly 10% of people she emailed, it was enough to get her started, and it wasn't long before she began writing for leading publications like Brit & Co.

Actionable Takeaway: Take a page out of Krista's book and create your own spreadsheet of publications, editors and contact addresses. Spend time thinking of all the publications that are relevant to your business and start tracking the writer's contact details. Then, get to pitching!

Lastly, sign up for HARO. It’s an easy way to connect with journalists and get your brand’s name out there!

2. Attend Media Events and Press Trips

Attending events in any industry is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business.

 
For example… look at all the cool people I met at    Social Media Marketing World 2018   !

For example… look at all the cool people I met at Social Media Marketing World 2018!

 

For Krista, it's helped her network with other writers who shared their contacts for other publications. But it's also helped her find work from Facebook groups.

"Through these trips, I found out about different Facebook groups for writers. #Binders is a really good one, and it's a place where editors from sites like Insider or Bustle will post about pieces they want to publish."

Another way to network and grow your business at the same time is to invest in business retreats.

I’ve been to a few and hosted my first one in Lisbon earlier this year.

 
All the powerful ladies that came to my Lisbon    retreat    this year! We had great business chats, great food and a seriously great time in Portugal.

All the powerful ladies that came to my Lisbon retreat this year! We had great business chats, great food and a seriously great time in Portugal.

 

During a digital nomad retreat in Bali last year, I connected with a Forbes writer who mentioned my InstaGrowth Boss course in two articles!

My dream of being mentioned in Forbes? ✔️

Actionable Takeaway: Don't underestimate the power of networking. Make an effort to schedule in time to attend industry meet-ups, events, and conferences. You never know who you might meet and the effect it will have on your business.

How to Craft the Perfect Pitch for Journalists

Now on the other side of the table, Krista gets at least 200 emails a day from PR agencies or companies looking for a shoutout in the publications she writes for.

Knowing that your pitch recipient is faced with such an information overload, you’ll want to make sure that your pitch stands out from the rest.

Here are Krista's top tips for what makes her open, read and eventually feature a brand who pitches her.

1. Do Your Research

Don't pitch every journalist you find on Twitter. You want to keep your pitches as niche as possible.

A quick Google search of Krista's name and you'll see that she mainly writes about career and lifestyle topics. She wouldn’t be the best person to pitch a story to about cryptocurrency hacks or the latest security alarm gadget.

You're better off sending emails to relevant journalists who have experience and an interest in your industry.

2. Write an “OMG-I-MUST-CLICK” Subject Line

With hundreds of emails rolling in every single day, you need to whip up some compelling copy if you want a journalist to open your message.

Use that limited word count to get to the point and make it easy for the writer to see how opening your email will benefit them.

"I find it useful if pitches mention in the subject line if it's an event because it's a valuable networking opportunity for me."

3. Keep Your Pitch to the Point

Picture this: You open an email, and it's just a wall of endless text.

Are you going to take the time to try to digest all that with your busy schedule?

Probably not.

Help make a journalist's life easier by writing an email that's easy on the eyes. You want to keep your copy concise and use formatting options like bolding, bullet points, and headers.

"A pitch that's likely to get featured from me is a thoughtful response that's well-articulated, easy to read and is backed up by a credible source."

The same rules apply after you land the pitch. Hold your answers to the same standard.

For example, when I pitch to journalists, this is what I usually include as a brief and concise intro:

“My name is Elise Darma, and I’m an entrepreneur and Instagram expert.”

I then write out my relevant tips or advice, and end the pitch off with the following credentials:

“I own two businesses that are doing over 6-figures a year (elisedarma.com + canupy.com) and I have over 75K followers on Instagram (@elisedarma).

Through my agency, I've collectively grown Instagram accounts to over 250,000 followers and brokered 100s of deals between influencers and brands.”

By doing this, the writer can easily see that any statements I make are backed up by my experience and business results.

A Pitching Example + Template

Want a little help in crafting your first pitch or perfecting what you already have?

Here’s an outline that I’ve used to secure guest post opportunities for online business publications:

“Hi [NAME],

I hope you’re doing well! I really enjoyed reading your post [enter title or topic]. I love your content and resonate with the lessons you share with your audience [get specific].

[Use this next section to establish your credibility.]

Let me briefly introduce myself. I’m Elise Darma, an Instagram marketing expert and agency owner of Canupy. With more than six years of experience in social media marketing, I’ve helped grow Instagram accounts to over 250,000 followers and brokered 100s of deals between influencers and brands. I run my own Instagram marketing course and share my industry insights to my 75K+ followers.

I think I’d be a great resource for future stories on [publication name], and would love for you to keep me in mind for expert commentary opportunities.

Some of my specific story ideas include:

[List three ideas relevant to your niche and experience that their audience would be interested in.]

Please let me know if I can send over an outline on any of the above topics for you to review, or if you need me to weigh in on any Instagram, social media marketing or entrepreneurship topics.

My full bio and website are below.  Thanks so much for taking the time, and I look forward to your response.

Talk soon!

Elise”


Want to Boost Your Pitches with a Strong Instagram Presence?

 
 

Let’s take your online authority and influence up a notch!

Sign up for my free Instagram masterclass and learn how to grow your business through the ‘gram.

Zero social media experience required.

Take some time this weekend, brew yourself a nice cup of tea, watch my masterclass and learn my three secrets to gaining 1,000 Instagram followers in just 30 days!


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Elise Darma

About the Author:

Elise Darmanin believes that "travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." That's why she makes beaches, coffee shops and co-working spaces her office by working remotely while growing Canupy Content. Canupy is a social media and copywriting agency for small to medium-sized businesses. The Canupy team helps brands grow through social media marketing, copywriting and content strategies that inspire audiences and drive sales.