The Art Of Becoming A Media Darling and Sponsorship Magnet

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Build Your Online Business / 12 comments
Credibility and Social Proof page of sponsorship kit

Think it’s about time you get some media attention for what you’re doing? I agree and you know what, it’s easier than you think. The first and best way in my mind is to ASK! You’d be surprised how many people don’t think to reach out and connect with editors and journalists to share their story.

These days it’s easier than ever to reach these people – but perhaps harder to stand out in a crowd and have a unique angle on why they should listen to you, and shine a spotlight on your story, brand, product or service.

Before you go pitching your pants off you actually need to develop a decent one, and have a few other resources to hand. I’d say in one weekend – even half a day you, could gather your list of ammunition with which to get the right publicity and attention for your business.

To get started with you need to create some semblance of a PR (Public Relations) Kit, including:

  • A Pitch
  • A Media List
  • Photos or Graphics
  • Customer Testimonials

If you have none of these things in place, then now is a great time to start. Even better once you have them you can then start factoring in at least 30 minutes per week to go after press opportunities.

Better yet visit PR in your Pajamas to get some hot advice from PR specialist Elena Verlee.

Perfecting Your Pitch

If you stepped in the elevator and were face to face with Oprah Winfrey and had just 30 seconds until the elevator reached the 10th floor where she was getting off what would you say?

That my friends is why they call it an elevator pitch. If you can’t get your message across succinctly and sum it up in 30 seconds then you have a problem. The thing is this takes time and practice.

Try it on your friends, your colleagues, complete strangers and at networking events and see what people react well to and what resonates with them. Tune into what makes them look puzzled or confused and ask them if they understand what you just said!

I love Ghost CEOs philosophy written on one card:

  • What do you do?
  • Why does that matter?
  • Who cares?

Apply that to any pitch and you’re off to a great start. Here are few questions to get you started. Answer these and you’re on step closer to securing a storm of publicity.

  1. What’s your name, your company and what product or service do you offer?
  2. What makes your offering unique?
  3. Why will it appeal to their readership? No really, why?
  4. What do your customers say about you?
  5. What is the boldest statement you’re willing to stand by about your product or service?

Note this pitch does not always need to be media driven. Primarily it’s your key marketing message and unique selling proposition you should tell everyone you come into contact with – especially your potential customers.

Talk About the Art of Self Promotion

Once you have your pitch perfected you need to make sure it’s on display, not only in any emails you’re sending to key media, or press releases you’re putting out, but on your website for all to see when they come and visit.

  • Set up a Press, In the Media, In the News, Latest News, or Hot off the Press page.
  • Put your pitch on there – who you are and what you do, why that matters, who cares.
  • Add the compelling facts and figures of when your company started, your team, any big achievement or milestones, readership, traffic numbers, demographics, target market
  • Link to your latest press clippings – videos, articles, interviews, PDFs and  put them under the publication, title and date that will attract the most attention
  • Add in your logo plus relevant product or service shots and even the code for people to cut and paste into their sites that link direct to you and the URL you want them to land on
  • Add in profession and genuine headshots of yourself in high resolution – people need to connect with you
  • All the ways they can contact you – email, phone and social media sites.

I always think Pam Slim has a great example of a press page.

Seeking Out the Press Opportunities

With all that said and done you need to actively get yourself in front of the right people and have a strategy to go with it. Do you want to pick up 2 guest posts a month on high traffic authority sites? Great, which ones and who are you going to contact there?

Do you know which press publications – both local and national would be interested in the type of story you can offer? Nope? Get on that research today.

Are you monitoring the daily opportunities put out by HARO ( Well that’s just a no brainer. If you think all this sounds daunting I’d suggest a couple of things:

Create your media list:

I’d recommend setting up a simple PR spreadsheet right now with the following columns:

Key Contact Publication/ website Email Telephone Twitter LinkedIn Notes


Outsource the research:

Don’t have time right now to go looking for the right people in the right places? Spend $20 to have someone do the key research on this via Upwork. It is likely the best investment of your time and money.

Make sure they at least get their Twitter handle.

Many journalists and bloggers these days state how they look to answer queries via Twitter first and foremost. Don’t underestimate the power of early connections and conversation on Twitter to lead on to a potential opportunity.

Luck = Preparation Meeting Opportunity

Once you get a lucky break you better be ready to go. Have a Press Release in place or at the very least your story or angle to get to them in a short turnaround and any samples of your product, case studies from clients, or customer insights and testimonials to add weight to your story.

Got that guest blogging opportunity. Make sure you have some ammunition up your sleeve to pull together some killer content and a unique take that will get you noticed. Read this fantastic guest post by Amy Harrison on 6 steps to make any written request more persuasive.

When it comes to radio and TV it’s the same process. Keep your eye on the latest trends and contact the editors when you see one that fits what you have to offer. More often then not journalists are just waiting for the right story  – especially on a local level, to fill their news spot. Take advantage of this by being proactive.

Being a Magnetic Force For Sponsorship

You may think your days of raising money for your school fair or project are over. I can assure you that getting the right sponsorship at the right time can be a great strategy for your business – whether it’s a product launch, event –charitable or for profit, book, client retreat… put your thinking hat on. Then go after them.

With a solid business case and more often than not the right connections you can move mountains, and at worst get a few extra dollars to help you on your path to success. With that also comes up a mutually beneficial and hopefully lasting relationship with your sponsor(s) that can grow into something pretty special.

For example I’m currently on the hunt for a suitcase sponsor – a piece of luggage is a tiny cost in return for me shouting from the rooftops about how great my new suitcase is. I recently found the contact details for the head of Sales for Rimowa (a fantastic German line of luggage) by Google searching them and coming across their press release. Off went my sponsorship document and highly targeted email introduction. Hint if you know of direct contacts let me know at the coolest suitcase companies let me know.

I also have a list of potential sponsors for my site and upcoming projects in the travel and business domains that would be a great fit with my brand and would be great to introduce to my community.

What to put in a sponsorship document

There are some key elements people will want to know from you if they’re going to consider sponsoring or advertising with you. Think about the questions you’d ask someone who approached you to sponsor them. Here’s just a few:

  • Is this the right fit with my brand and values?
  • Is their audience my ideal customer or target market?
  • Do they have a platform/ brand/ company with enough social proof and credibility?
  • Can they bring me the right exposure to make this a great return on investment?
  • Are the terms flexible and what is required from me?

Then make sure you answer them in your media or sponsorship kit.

Credibility and Social Proof page of sponsorship kit
An example page from my sponsorship kit showing credibility and social proof

Here’s what I have in my Sponsorship and Advertising Kit Table of Contents (plus the number of slides):

All about the Company + Vision + Mission   3-4
Paying it forward  5
Credibility and social proof  6
Our audience and our reach  7
Products and Services  8
Natalie Sisson – who is she?  9
Why Partner with us?  10
2010 results and growth  11-13
Sponsorship Opportunities  14-16
Advertiser Opportunities  17-18
Testimonials  19
Taking action 20

Yes the 20 slide deck of cards you use to pitch your business and brand. Filled with lovely pictures, powerful words and compelling reasons for them to align with you.

Do you just send this off and expect results? Nope.

You work the relationship first. Do your research on how your brands align, what’s in it for them, why they’d be moved to get in front of your audience or sponsor your event.

Read their about page, figure out what will move them to take action and for the love of god make sure they’re a brand you actually like and want to have as a part of your business and would readily introduce to your tribe!

What success have you had in the media and sponsorship front that you can share below?