If PR is part of your marketing strategy (as it should be), this one is for you.
There is nothing more valuable than hearing from other coworking space operators how they attract quality and consistent media coverage that positions them as topic experts and positions their space and community as standouts in the field.
It’s one thing to hear PR theoreticals, it’s another to hear how your peers and coworking leaders are putting it to work right now, generating consistent coverage, high-quality backlinks and national positioning.
The key to a strong PR strategy is to be a source for journalists and publications. They’ll come back to you over and over again to get your insights and expert opinion on trending topics.
In a recent Coworking Convo, we invited Amanda Munday from The Workaround in Toronto, Bruce Montgomery from the Entrepreneur Success Program in Chicago, Dana Berggren from The Coop in Las Vegas, and Felena Hanson from HeraHub in San Diego to share their top PR tips, strategies and best practices.
Here are 17 PR strategies for your coworking space.
1. Set Google Alerts
Set up Google Alerts for newsworthy items you know you can speak to. Your alerts could include coworking, shared spaces, parenting, the future of work, local economic development, remote work, shared offices, women-owned business, small business, etc.
Experiment with topics relevant to your space and brand and use trial and error to find a pocket of Google alert topics you can speak to.
2. Be Proactive with Journalists
When you find a news angle you can speak to, ping the journalist immediately and let them know you’re available as a source.
3. Find a News Hook
It’s not news that you exist. It is newsworthy that you’re helping work from home parents navigate COVID, or are launching an entrepreneurial accelerator in your space, or support essential workers with free meeting room rentals, or track the community impact of coworking in your town. Don’t be shy about shining a light on your community and initiatives. Find the newsy angle and make it crystal clear what that angle is.
4. Connect Journalists to Your Members
PR doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) all about you. When you see a good story fit or PR opportunity for your members, ping the journalist and offer to connect them with a source. Help facilitate that connection. This helps the journalist as well as your members.
5. Photos Are Key (Especially Now)
Have up-to-date photos of your space, with COVID protections in-place. Journalists need photos, and pre-COVID ones won’t get it done right now. Media outlets don’t want to send out a photographer during COVID, so make it easy for them to publish high-quality photos. Bonus: Your photos may even get picked up and shared on a national, or international, level.
6. Be Timely
When you see a story or topic or angle you can speak to, reach out immediately. Timeliness is important and trending topics change quickly. Over time, you’ll learn to predict trends and emerging topics of discussion and can reach out ahead of time.
7. Strategic Layering
Whenever there’s an opportunity for media exposure, bring in additional organizations to extend the reach of the story. For instance, layer a story about your space or a business in your space with work they’re doing with a local nonprofit. That way you leverage the press attention to reach the audience of your business and your member business, as well as the nonprofit.
8. Create the Story Angle
The journalist’s job is not to promote you, it’s to share interesting stories with their readers and viewers. Find the human story angle that will resonate with their audience. Again, it’s not an interesting story that you exist as a coworking space. It is news that you’re opening new opportunities for young entrepreneurs in your space with an apprentice program. Get into the humanness, the realness of your community and initiatives. That’s where the stories are.
9. Contribute to Publications
Print publications are always looking for contributors and quality guest posts. You can connect with publications ahead of time to see what they’re looking for. You can also craft opinion pieces and shop them to outlets as an exclusive. Only pitch it to one publication at a time and be sure to include mentions and backlinks to your space.
10. Call in the Experts
If PR is not your strength, hire a pro who can consistently put opportunities in front of you. You can choose to take them or not, but it’s nice to have strategic opportunities to choose from.
11. Be Your Own Media Company
I know, you’re super busy keeping your space running right now and wondering when the workspace wave is coming. But, you are a media company and the sooner you accept that fact, the better off you’ll be.
Between your blog, video, streaming media, your storytelling, social platforms, Clubhouse, photos, podcast, Twitter threads and Instagram Stories, you’re creating and publishing media every day. Get strategic and smart about your topics, stories, audience and methods of engagement.
12. Publish Press Releases on your Website
Put a “Press” link on your site and post something to it once a month. It can be a new initiative, a new partnership, an award or recognition you, your space, or one of your members received etc. Keep this page up-to-date. It can really strengthen your brand. or, if it’s been ignored for months or years, reflect poorly on your brand.
13. Build Relationships with Journalists
Get to know particular journalists whose beats includes topics relevant to you, your community, and your mission. Read, watch and listen to find the connections, create a private Twitter list so you can follow what they’re reporting on, and share, retweet and comment on their posts generously. This will keep your name fresh and top-of-mind when they need a source.
14. Focus on the Larger Coworking Movement
It’s not just about you and your space. Share stories and pitches that include other coworking spaces and community initiatives. This can be through a local coworking alliance, or just from the perspective of workspace operators navigating trends and challenges.
15. The Goal of PR is Not New Members
It’s rare that someone will go from seeing a news segment on your local morning show, to joining your space that day. However, it is incredibly important and powerful brand positioning, SEO juice, network expanding, and social proof to get in front of audiences. Then, when the topic of shared space does come up, you’re there, top-of-mind.
16. Experiment with HARO
There are a number of platforms that connect journalists looking for sources, with people who can share an opinion and perspective on topics. The most popular one is Help a Reporter Out (HARO), but there are a growing number of these types of tools.
17. Get your Press Release Right
The heart of PR is your press release. In my mini-course on creating a press release for your coworking space, I show you how to come up with an interesting angle, how to craft a release and how to send it. I also share the press release template I use for my own work.
What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments.
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