How to leverage public relations and media for your coworking space

In a year with plenty of bad news, everyone is on the lookout for a positive story. Coworking spaces have taken a hit during the pandemic just like nearly every other type of business, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great stories to share about your members and the impact you’re having on your community.

Building relationships with reporters and sharing news with the right media outlets is a great way to reach a broad audience and reinforce the role of your coworking space in your local community. Public relations provides an opportunity to tell your story to new potential partners, members or supporters and communicate what’s unique about your business. Here are 10 ways you can approach public relations and media for your coworking space, even in 2020.

Know your audience

First and foremost, who do you want to reach? Think about your ideal members, tenants and partners. Who would be most interested to learn about your coworking space? What do they read? To get started, think about:

  • Local news sites or your local newspaper
  • Publications that highlight interesting local businesses in your community
  • Startup, business or technology websites or newsletters
  • Blogs or news sections published by local chamber of commerce or economic development group
  • Email newsletters you subscribe to that your audience might also read

Consider the news and resources your current members consume. These are mostly likely the places where your target audience will be interested in learning about you.

Only share what’s newsworthy

Are you planning a launch for a new coworking space? Have your members recently come together to support small businesses in your community? Do you have any upcoming events that would interest your local community, such as a holiday pop-up or business workshops to kick off the new year? Have any of your members experienced recent growth or achieved a major milestone? Is there an exciting new company joining your coworking space? Get specific about a piece of news others will be interested in reading.

Be timely

Will your story be relevant to the broader community right now? Whether you’re helping small business owners through COVID-19 or supporting a rise in members who are new to working remotely, make sure your topic is relevant to what’s currently happening in your community. Keep in mind that everyone is looking for good news, so even if the media is dominated by stories about the pandemic and politics, those aren’t the only topics that media outlets are covering.

Create a media list

One simple spreadsheet goes a long way to keep an organized list of your target media outlets and contacts. Once you’ve identified potential places to share your story, create a spreadsheet to record media outlet names, contact names, email addresses and a link to each site. Keeping this information all in one place saves you from searching your email folders or trying to remember contact names whenever you have news you’d like to share. It also provides your staff a starting place if you ask someone else to take on public relations for your coworking space.

Target the right journalists or bloggers who’ll be interested in your story

When you contact media members for a story, it’s critical to find the right reporter or writer who’s going to be interested in what you have to share. For each of the outlets on your media list, identify who covers business, technology, the economy or other topics that are specifically relevant to that reporter’s beat. If you send a story about a business networking event to a sports writer or a food blogger, they probably won’t read it. If you’re targeting a larger publication and you’re not sure who to send your story to, look at past news stories that are related to your topic and identify who wrote them. Often reporters include their email address with a published story. If you don’t see contact information there, check the publication masthead. Twitter bios are also a great place to check for email addresses as most journalists are active on Twitter.

Write a compelling pitch

There are two common ways to reach out to media. The first is with a tip or idea the reporter might be interested in pursuing. The second is to send a prepared press release directly to the media. This release may be published exactly as it’s written, or a reporter may contact you for a story based on the news you’ve shared. Sending a pitch or media release via email is very common. It’s critical to keep your email short, specific and get directly to the point. A very specific subject line and an email with five sentences or fewer is a great approach to getting your email read.

Keep your press release focused on news

Focus your press release on a specific piece of news. Whether it’s the anniversary celebration for your coworking space or you’re announcing an additional location, make sure to include all relevant details your readers will what to know about who, where, when and why. Include quotes from relevant parties in your release such as a member of your coworking community, a city official or you as the owner or manager of your coworking space. Always include a title, release date, contact information and relevant links to your business, social media or a specific event.

Keep your story consistent

After you’ve drafted the story you want to share and identified which media members might be interested, make sure you’ve included relevant information about your business or provided a way for the media to learn more about your coworking space. Reporters and your target audience will be interested in why you do what you do. Whether it’s included in your press release, linked on your website or directly in your pitch, be sure to provide a “so what” about your coworking space. You’re hosting a great event—so what? You’ve landed a new startup as a member at your coworking space—so what? Tie your news back to your brand, what it represents and why you’ve established a coworking community.

Reinforce your story with social proof

If a reporter wants to learn more about you or your business, social media is one of the first places he or she is likely to look. You don’t need to have a massive following to show your credibility, but you should have an updated profile with recent content that shows you’re engaged with your community on a regular basis. Consider adding member testimonials or highlighting member reviews. Also include prominent links to your social profiles on your website. The more you can show your community supports your business, the more likely it is reporters and readers will want to support it, too.

Engage with media when you don’t have a story to pitch

Like nearly everything you do in coworking, forming real relationships is at the root of building up your community. Invite journalists and bloggers into your space as your free guest for a day. Invite them to meet you for coffee at your coworking space. Letting them see and experience what you have to offer is one of the best ways to authentically start a professional relationship. Always follow up with a thank you and make sure to stay connected. When you do have news to announce, your established contacts are far more likely to take interest and share your excitement.

PR and Media for Coworking Spaces