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. Press coverage gets your business in the public eye, and that drives 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 channels of the press and media 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, 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 as a way to share your business successes as they’re 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 when you are trying to get press coverage for your small business. Contact a journalist who might have an interest in your pitch or in what your business is doing.
Most reporters have a particular area of interest. Search out reporters who are interested in the specific things you offer or in ways 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. Here’s one we recommend.
Once you’ve found the correct journalist, how then do you write a pitch letter to the media. Creating 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 have to make a strong case as to 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 a fantastic way to let a multitude of potential customers know who you are and what you offer.
However, many of these types of publications has small staffs who are stretched thin. A great way to ensure that your business catch their eye is to do the hard work for them. Write up a well-written press release with all of your relevant information that can be printed with very few changes.
If you’re pitching to a larger 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 publication.)
Expect to Follow Up
When you pitch a story, you can usually expect a journalist to get back to you in a day or so. They want publishable content, and if your story is appealing, you shouldn’t have a problem. But sometimes, especially in smaller publications, pitches and stories can get lost in the shuffle. Don’t be afraid to follow up yourself instead of waiting on the press to get back to you.
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, especially when you’re first starting to try to get press coverage, it can be difficult to get a publication to write about your business. But that doesn’t mean your business name won’t be in print. Offer to do the writing yourself.
Seek out other businesses who 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. A great way for your small business to be a part of that kind of story is to provide value to your community through your goods or services. You can give proceeds to a local charity, provide school supplies at your local elementary school, or offer an incentive for people to volunteer in your town.
Focus on Building Relationships
When you are a small business, a lot of your success depends on word of mouth. 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. 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 not only listen to your pitch but to cover your story.
Make Media Presence a Priority
Effective PR campaigning includes media from the beginning. If you are planning an event or a unique, one-time service, contact media outlets immediately. By including them from the beginning, you will get thorough press coverage, and they will feel privileged and valued, which is great 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 that journalists can include your story in their press and the timing will be relevant for your business and their story.
Remember when contacting press outlets that you want to market your story as something that will sell. If their patrons learn about an event that will take place soon after they read the article or hear the radio message, they are more likely to value the outlet and the journalist who brought it to their attention, which in turn will leave you in good graces with your contact journalist.
Getting Press Coverage Takes Work
That’s the truth. Anyone who has looked over a media coverage report will attest to the fact its hard work getting mentions that provide value to your business. Getting press coverage for your small business takes hard work, and it doesn’t happen overnight. You need to understand your audience and spend time building your brand. But when you follow our advice, over time, you’ll see that your hard work will pay off. Consistency takes effort, but it’s all worth it when your small business gets coverage to bring customers to your door or site.