How to Get Featured in the Wall Street Journal

November 15, 2022 | Amanda Green

Is There a Secret to Securing a Wall Street Journal Feature Article?

Written by Tammy Marino, Orca Communications publicist

As publicists, we all wish there were some secret sauce or magic formula that we could pull out of our back pocket that would deliver the highly coveted Wall Street Journal full-page feature on a silver platter to each and every company we represent. The truth is – there is no secret sauce. No magic formula. But, there are some strategies that novice and seasoned veteran PR professionals alike can work towards mastering that could make that dream placement a reality. In fact, the public relations stars aligned as I flexed some of these industry skills recently. Below is a step-by-step roadmap of how my client came to own a full page of real estate in the October 29, 2022 edition of the Wall Street Journal

I –Getting to Know You

Time is such a precious commodity – particularly when you are juggling multiple clients with differing goals and angles. It can be easy to just glance over a briefing or pencil in a quick five-minute intro call with your new client before you hit the ground running to pitch and score some hits. And if your client is a straightforward new product launch, for example, that may be all that is needed. But often our clients have more nuances that can and should be explored. Be sure to allow your client to truly give his perspective not just of his company and PR goals, but also of how his company fits into the “big picture.” Brainstorming and digging deep will allow you to truly identify new and interesting angles you can use to either piggyback on existing industry news or create the kinds of questions and ideas that reporters will be intrigued to explore.

In the case of Velong Enterprises, Jacob Rothman proved to be a treasure trove of “boots on the ground” insight and perspective that were perfectly suited for the current climate of largely anti-China sentiment in the US.

II – Google & Coffee

We all rely on personal media contact lists we have built over the course of our PR careers, and of course, we turn to our media databases to keep our “rolodexes” up to date and find contacts we may not otherwise already know. But I personally swear by my “Google and Coffee Hour.” Each day, before the world wakes up, I enjoy a quiet cup of coffee while I hit the Internet and look for angles and topics relevant to my clients. In addition to allowing you to find new reporters/contributors/bloggers who would be strong potential media targets, this process makes it so easy to craft truly personalized pitches that may refer back to a reporter’s prior article. And it can help you find niche information that you can pepper into your pitches to make them even stronger.

It was over my Google and Coffee Hour that I found an article discussing decoupling with China that was written by two reporters from the Wall Street Journal. They became my very first outreach on behalf of Velong.

III –Short and sweet

It goes without saying that reporters are busy. They don’t want to spend too much time trying to read through a long or convoluted essay. If and when you are offering up a client as a source for any future story a reporter may work on regarding decoupling with China, for example, that pitch need not go into grand sweeping detail. You only need to provide enough information to garner initial interest.

Let the reporter know why you’re reaching out, what your client may bring to the table and how to reach you to set up an introductory call. Sometimes, less is more.

IV – Coordinate, prep and be present

You won’t always succeed. But when you do, and you get an email reply from the reporter asking to schedule an interview, you will want to work quickly. Keep in mind all time zone differences – particularly challenging with clients in Asia – and coordinate and confirm the interview day and time with all parties. 

Take some time to chat with your client before the interview to ensure he/she is ready for potential questions. Send your client some past articles by the reporter. Finally, be present for the call/virtual meeting. 

V – It’s not over 

Your work does not end when the interview is over. You need to follow up with the reporter to ensure that he/she knows you can be reached if additional questions arise. Often (especially if the interview is going to eventually yield a full-page feature), the reporter will want follow-up interviews. You can stay in the loop to arrange these, but in my case, because the reporters and my client were all based in China – which is 13 hours ahead of my CST time zone – it felt best to allow them to communicate directly. But I had my client keep me in the loop on all additional communication.

In my follow-ups, it was clear that the reporters were working on a bigger piece and it would take some time. While I never used the word “exclusive,” I did not want to potentially jeopardize Wall Street Journal coverage by continuing outreach to other media outlets. I continued meeting with my client weekly to discuss additional angles we could leverage once the Wall Street Journal story came to fruition. During these calls, we agreed upon the strategy to treat the Wall Street Journal as an exclusive arrangement.

VI – Patience 

When you are working with the Wall Street Journal and holding out for what you believe will be a lengthy feature story, patience is key. And you have to find a way to share that patience with your client. 

My pitch on August 23, turned into interview part 1 on August 30. We didn’t get a scheduled publication date until mid-October. And the story ran on October 29. That is a two-month-long stay in Wall Street Journal limbo – but it was well worth the wait.

VII – Flexibility and Accessibility

You will find that right before a story is published, there will be many last-minute to-dos. First, there are the final questions the reporters and editor have to close out the story. You do not want to wait on opening these emails because a delay in responding could mean a delay in publication. While we all ideally want to shut off our phones and disconnect from our email when we are technically “off the clock,” when you are waiting for your story to run, you must make yourself available to the journalist, photo editor, and anyone else who may come to you seeking one missing name or spelling, or a quick fact check. You truly are on their schedule. Be flexible. Be accessible. Be creative.

VIII – Appreciation

Finally, once you’ve had your moment to revel in the glory of the published feature, be sure to reach out to the journalists, photo editors, and your client to give everyone the thanks and credit they deserve.

Public Relations can be a roller coaster ride: there are peaks and valleys and you just have to buckle up and hang on. But the “magic formula” and the true secret to earning the dream placements, and enjoying the ride is a combination of a deep understanding of a client’s business and industry landscape, regular open dialogues with a client, and strong media research and relations. 

To learn more about Orca Communications and our PR process, schedule a consultation with a member of our team to start a PR plan that makes sense for your brand.