News coverage is is one of the best ways to start building out your brand. Magazine and newspaper advertising can be expensive, especially for a small business with a limited marketing budget. However, you can still get your name into print through creative public relations.
1. Write Well About Your Business Story
Send out press releases on a regular basis detailing newsworthy or interesting events in your business. For example, a release that details the economic impact you expect your new hires to have on the local economy is newsworthy. Expanding your operations or introducing innovative machinery or products can also catch a news-hungry journalist’s eye. Always include information about your business at the bottom of the release and return phone calls from reporters quickly if they call you for comments.
2. Be a source for Media
Make it easy on media to cover your business. Create a media page where the press can easily grab your logo in color and black-and-white, screenshots, images of your top products, and head-shots of key executives. Include high resolution versions. Also, include basic facts and figures about your business. Remember, if your business is not a main part of the story, the editor may decide to cut out your business completely rather than hold up the entire story for one missing piece of information.
get your business in the media
3. Engage on Facebook and Twitter
Find media with active Facebook Pages. Share their stories. Comment on their Facebook posts. At the very least, you’ll get some attention from their audience. It’s also a good way to get the outlet’s attention. Remember, a lot of reporters have their own Pages, too. Be sure to Like and engage there, too. It’s a great way to get attention. Twitter is also great for making connections with journalists. Follow journalists on Twitter. And tweet at them if you have something relevant to say, by including their @handle in your tightly crafted pitch tweet. If they’re mobile-savvy reporters, they’ll likely get a notification on their phones. Knowing that, you definitely don’t want to overdo this.
4. Pay Attention on Freebies from Media
A lot of news and trade news websites offer free events calendars or free listings of resources. Get any special events or information on these listings.
News outlets hosting these listings are usually following them in case they need to fill news and feature holes in their coverage. A well-written and comprehensive listing of yours may grab their attention and lead to a story. Attend local community events. Set up a booth. The press is usually at these events and being there is a good chance to acquaint yourselves with them and vice versa.
5. Be Philanthropic
Be a benefit to your community, especially in times of need. Help organize or contribute to charitable drives. Get your name and your business’s name out in the community attached to something other than your business. When the press covers these charities, they’ll often mention who’s involved in helping. Getting your name on that list gets the media’s attention and the community’s too.
6. Know What The Media Outlet Covers
The biggest problem with most media pitches is that they are mismatched with what the publication, show or individual journalist covers.
Every media outlet has a style all its own based on its audience. Even if they cover the same news, different media outlets will cover it from different angles. Journalists may have specific “beats.” So not only does your news have to match, but your angle has to match, too. You can only learn these nuances by reading, watching or listening to the media outlet repeatedly.
7. Use Email Over Phone
Today, media pitches should go through email. Avoid the temptation to call, unless you have a very specific question. Voicemails take more time to listen to, and can be hard to forward to the right person. Busy editors will simply hit the delete key on their phone if faced with a long voicemail with garbled words.
8. Reach the Right Person
Part of a PR pro’s value is in finding the right person. Even here at Small Business Trends we have multiple editors and writers. An email to one won’t necessarily be seen by anyone else.
Or go through the main contact form. Media outlets may use help desk software that routes communications to the right place based on drop-down menus or certain words in the message.
9. Start With Blogs of Media Outlets
Some outlets have outlets of their own, Maintain your own updated roster of media outlets, reporters, and other contacts in the media industry. Break the lists down to include lists of local and regional sources and another that is industry specific. And write notes so you remember details about how to reach certain people or stories they tend to cover.
10. Create a “Complete” Press Release
A press release today should include everything a reporter would need to write or produce a story about your business. This includes your logo, product images, screenshots, executive headshots, videos, links to online demos or free trials, and social media profile links. Also, provide facts and figures about your company including how many customers you serve, your markets, and where you have offices. The more complete your package, the more likely you are to get coverage.