1) Do research on the media outlet interviewing you
Radio, magazines, local television, and national television all have searchable history. Details about most reporters are made public in social media. Read about them so you feel comfortable chatting with them about your business.
Building personal connections is important. Don't ever make the interviewer feel inferior to you. Maintain a grateful attitude for the opportunity.
2) Take the time to zero in on journalists who write about what you do
While it seems like blanket emails to prospects will be more fruitful in return emails, it is actually just spent effort on your part, with little to show for it. Instead, consider the audience you are trying to reach and look for media outlets relevant to those people. If you want to reach the natural/organic public, Wired magazine probably isn't the best choice. Newspapers, magazines, online news publications and blogs that have interviewed a competitor recently are great sources, but be sure that if you do contact them your angle is different than your competitor's. As a home crafter or small soap business, your chances for getting coverage on the local and state level are better than going straight to Cosmopolitan--at first!
Online blogs and reviews are also a great way to get some experience and relationship-building under your belt, which in turn makes the bigger players notice you. The HSCG has developed an exclusive list of bloggers who want to review products made by HSCG members (see the Beauty Box Program).
2) Work towards long term relationships with journalists, bloggers, and media personnel
Now that you've honed in on who is most likely to feature you, connect with them GENTLY via social media. By gently, it is meant not to harass or be obsessive. Make a sincere effort to share and interact gracefully and consistently. You want to build a relationship in a way that they will notice you and follow your social media back, and then find that you have passions and works worth featuring.
3) Once you've connected and given the relationship some space to grow, connect with your story or pitch
Keep the initial contact brief with a few bullet points on why your article is BENEFICIAL to their audience. Start out with a compliment to a recent story you enjoyed and then offer an area you could be an expert in.
4) Show support and gratitude if your story, product, or service gets featured
Share the article across your social media platforms. Highlight the person and the entity showcasing your business (and link back to the article). It is a fantastic thank you and shows major support for the exchange. It also makes you the expert in the industry in your customers' eyes.
5) Getting featured can be summed up in 2 terms: Consistency and Hard work
Even the brightest stories on the block won't be talked about if someone doesn't put in the sweat equity to get them noticed! Journalists, bloggers, and media members are inundated with the next big story, so do not get discouraged. Building relationships is give-and-take. Make step 2 a vital part of your sales and marketing program. It's much cheaper than paying for advertising and the results are much more valuable.