Our purpose with this series is to educate readers on how to more effectively pitch reporters and garner media hits.
We hope you find this series useful. Please leave any comments or questions below!
In this edition of HLS, we interviewed Jennifer Berson, publicist and founder of Jeneration PR, a boutique PR, marketing, social media and celebrity seeding agency specializing in promoting beauty, baby, and lifestyle brands.
1. Please give the BloggingPRWeb readers a little background information about yourself/your business:
I am a former lawyer turned publicist, and the founder of Jeneration PR, a boutique PR, marketing, social media & celebrity seeding agency specializing in promoting beauty, baby & lifestyle brands. I have been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, The New York Times, Los Angeles Daily News and have appeared on TV sharing Celebrity Baby Trends on Fox 11, Access Hollywood and Hollywood 411. I was recently selected by Babble.com as one of the “10 Mompreneurs Who Made it Big.”
Jeneration PR was profiled by Apple, and has been named one of the top Women-Owned businesses 2 years in a row by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Jeneration PR’s clients include Little Giraffe, Puj Baby, Hostess with the Mostess.com, MADHOUSE designs by Michael Aram, Little Bean Sprout & Enjoue Beaute.
2. How did you first hear about HARO and why did you decide to sign up?
I signed up for HARO just as the service outgrew its original Facebook page, sometime in early 2009. Several of my contacts would forward relevant HARO leads to me for our clients, so I realized I should just sign up for it myself.
3. How has HARO changed the way you market yourself/your business?
HARO allows us to connect directly with editors looking for sources with the kind of expertise in PR, social media & celebrity seeding we could share, therefore helping deepen our credibility as experts in our field. HARO gives us insight into what stories are in the works, and we can immediately jump on opportunities where we, or our clients, might be a good fit. And we often share HARO leads with our contacts who might not know about them, helping make us look like we are on the look-out for them, and are a useful source of information.
4. How many times have you gotten media placements through HARO?
I was lucky to establish a great relationship with a writer, Katie Morrell, for American Express OPEN Forum and have worked with her as a source for several stories she’s written. I have actually gotten new business leads from companies who have seen articles on OPEN Forum where I am included as a source.
5. If you have garnered more than one hit, which was your favorite and why?
My favorite feature has been the article, “10 Questions to Ask a PR Firm Before Signing a Contract.” I was working on this as a post for a PR blog I contribute to, but thought it was a better fit to help the Small Business Owners who read American Express OPEN Forum. I pitched the story and the list of 10 Questions to Katie, and she agreed it would be a great item for the site. I was quoted as a source in the article, sharing advice for how to navigate the relationship with a prospective publicist, and ensuring you understand how the agency works before you sign the agreement.
6. From your experience with getting media placements, what are some tips/pointers you can give to people looking to pitch themselves or their businesses to the media?
- Understand what makes you unique in the marketplace, what distinguishes you from your competition
- Provide complete & accurate pitches: Product details, links for where to buy, price, images, etc.
- Target editors and editorial outlets that are genuinely a great fit for your business, service or product. Convey that you are a fan of their work, and why your pitch is relevant to them and their readership, and is useful information for them to share
- Establish yourself as an expert in your field and contribute blog posts & useful comments in online forums in your field
- Focus on your brand and not just your products. Once interest in your products dies down a bit after your initial launch, you still want people to care about your brand and what you are doing next. Keeping your brand relevant will ensure longevity for your company
- Create strong marketing & sales collateral, and a beautiful, branded website, consistent with your brand identity and appealing to your target consumer. Like customers, editors are persuaded by the strength of your brand image, and are likely to write about a company they can visually connect with
7. What are some no-nos when pitching the media?
Pitching an editor but being unaware of the editorial focus of the publication, or the particular areas that the editor covers, is a huge no-no. Your pitch will be ignored, and you will be seen as sending SPAM, likely resulting in getting blacklisted. Be targeted in your approach to pitching media, demonstrating how your story is a great fit for their readership and editorial focus.
Another no-no is sending out information that is inaccurate or incomplete. Your goal should be to always provide complete, useful, relevant and accurate information, so you will establish your reputation as a credible source. Then you are likely to have your pitches run as features, and get on an editor’s contact list for story leads in the future.
If you’d like to be featured in the HARO Limelight series as a member of the media or a source, email: laura(at)helpareporter(dot)com.