Every small business benefits from positive press coverage and good media coverage. Press means brand awareness and credibility. This, in turn, generates more web traffic and social media followers. In addition, press coverage gets your business in the public eye, driving sales. Below are ten tips to help you get good press coverage for your small business.
Decide Who You Want to Reach
Determine whose attention you’re trying to get, then utilize different press and media channels to reach them. Saying you want “more clients” is vague and doesn’t give you direction. Identify a particular audience or subset of people (working moms, software designers, etc.), then build from there.
This will take work, but the more specific you can be about your audience and what they like, the more focused your efforts can be on acquiring certain types of press coverage.
Find Out What They Read, Watch, and Listen to
Once you’ve identified your target audience, please find out how they consume press and media coverage. There are a ton of avenues you can use to reach your audience:
While social media doesn’t traditionally fall into the “press” category, you can still use your socials to share your business successes as documented in the press and as journalists highlight your small business.
Get in Touch with Relevant Journalists and Editors
Targeting the right people is necessary to get press coverage for your small business. Contact a journalist who might be interested in your pitch or what your business is doing.
Most reporters have a particular area of interest. Search out reporters interested in the specific things you offer or how your business has gone above and beyond. There are many online resources that you can use to get in contact with reporters who might run a story about your business.
Once you’ve found the correct journalist, how do you write a pitch letter to the media? To create a pitch that makes a journalist’s eyes light up like kids opening presents, you need these three things:
- An angle that piques their curiosity.
- An attention-grabbing subject line.
- A short, crisp email that instantly gives them value.
Remember, editors, want material and stories that will sell. Simply existing as a small business is not enough. To write the best pr pitch, you must make a strong case for why readers will care about your story.
Do the Work for Them
One of the easiest ways to get your business name out to the public is through local and sometimes free publications. Local newspapers, town newsletters, or even yearly brochures mailed to town residents are fantastic ways to let many potential customers know who you are and what you offer.
However, many of these publications have small staffs that are stretched thin. A great way to ensure your business catches their eye is to do the hard work for them. Write a well-written press release with all relevant information that can be printed with very few changes.
If you’re pitching to a more extensive publication, a few paragraphs outlining your idea sent via email is enough to get their attention. You can also contact publications over the phone with your pitch, but make sure it’s not during busy times (like deadline day on a magazine.)
Expect to Follow Up
When you pitch a story, you can usually expect a journalist to reply in a day or so. They want publishable content; you shouldn’t have a problem if your story is appealing. But sometimes, especially in smaller publications, pitches and reports can get lost in the shuffle. So don’t be afraid to follow up instead of waiting for the press to reply.
It’s ok to reach out to several journalists with your pitch but be upfront and transparent about what you’re doing. This will prevent your contacts from feeling betrayed or abused.
Write Guest Posts
Sometimes, it cannot be easy to get a publication to write about your business, especially when you’re starting to try to get press coverage. But that doesn’t mean your business name won’t be in print. Offer to do the writing yourself.
Seek other businesses you can partner with to write for their blog or site. Guest posting allows you to write about your expertise in your own words. You can establish your authority in your industry, connect with your audience by providing value, and build backlinks to boost your SEO.
However, don’t use a guest post opportunity as a way to shameless self-promotion. Readers will take note of your expertise, respect your authoritative writing, and turn to you for advice when they need help.
Bring Value to Your Community
Editors and reporters want stories that sell. An excellent way for your small business to be a part of that story is to provide value to your community through your goods or services. For example, you can give proceeds to a local charity, provide supplies at your local elementary school, or incentivize people to volunteer in your town.
Focus on Building Relationships
Your success depends on word of mouth when you are a small business. The best-kept secret to good PR is not advertising dollars or a witty slogan; it’s building relationships.
Pitching your story to a reporter is a great tactic, but it doesn’t always work, especially if the reporter has no idea who you are and has never heard of your business. Instead, find common ground with the reporters and editors you are targeting. Comment on their previous work. Invite them to try your product or service for free. Do things that will make you unforgettable and appealing. When you have stories to share, they’ll be more likely to listen to your pitch and cover your account.
Make Media Presence a Priority
Effective PR campaigning includes media from the beginning. Contact media outlets immediately if you plan an event or a unique, one-time service. Having them from the beginning will give you thorough press coverage, and they will feel privileged and valued, which is excellent for your long-term relationship.
Watch Your Timing
If you are trying to get coverage in a weekly newspaper or a publication that doesn’t get printed every day, time your event or promotion so journalists can include your story in their press, and the timing will be relevant for your business and their business story.
Remember when contacting press outlets that you want to market your story as something that will sell. For example, suppose their patrons learn about an event that will take place soon after they read the article or hear the radio message. In that case, they are more likely to value the outlet and the journalist who brought it to their attention, leaving them in good graces with their contact journalist.
Getting Press Coverage Takes Work
That’s the truth. Anyone who has reviewed a media coverage report will attest that it’s hard work getting mentions that provide value to your business. Getting press coverage for your small business takes hard work and doesn’t happen overnight. First, you need to understand your audience and spend time building your brand. But when you follow our advice, you’ll see that your hard work will pay off over time. Consistency takes effort, but it’s worth it when your small business gets coverage to bring customers to your door or site.