Get News Coverage For Your Business
Getting a spot in the local, regional, national or even global news can really give your company a much needed boost, without having to pay for advertising (please note, that does not include your own time commitment).
Start Small – Build Real Relationships with Reporters.
Don’t go for the biggest programs and newspapers first. Start local. You can start by attending local events – a city council meeting may be a good place to start. Go digital too – find newscaster blogs and check up on their previous pieces – read and engage with the content. Like any community management or networking – this may require building relationships over a longer period of time. Start networking before you are even ready to launch. You can also skip some of this networking by signing up on helpareporter.com, and looking for relevant pieces where an expert opinion is needed.
When you are ready for the news, don’t just issue a press release and expect things to happen. Get on the phone with and begin emailing the journalists you’ve been in touch with already. Make sure your submission is truly newsworthy, and worth their time and effort. You wouldn’t want all that relationship building to go to waste because you just wanted some free PR as a favor. I’ll have to get back here an write a post about newsworthy press releases.
Be helpful, not self-promotional.
Reporters receive a lot of pitches and leads, many of which they never even get to reviewing before they have to meet their deadline. Don’t get lost in the shuffle by making your initial contact one of self-promotion or a pitch for your product or service. Follow them, interact with them, build upon your relationship over time. Only after that can you expect to be noticed.
Timing is key.
Running a special sale for the holidays – have a special anniversary in store? Plan ahead. A reporter would need to know relevant details at least two weeks in advance. The sooner, the better, actually. Remember, reporters have strict deadlines to keep themselves. If you want to get into a weekly local paper, for example, try to find out when they go to print. Keep this in mind. Make sure events and announcements are made with enough time to make that week’s deadline, to ensure accurate and timely coverage.
Keep a camera or smartphone handy throughout your workday. Actively seek opportunities to generate media you can use for news outlets as well as your own social media channels, and be prepared for those that catch you by surprise. Keep these images handy for when you need to plan some outreach. If you are aiming for a weekly paper that goes to print on Tuesday afternoon, don’t hold an event on Tuesday evening.
Support your local community.
By supporting your local community, you can generate great good will and PR. Engaging and giving back to your local community is a great way of getting the attention of the local news too. Start with local fundraisers and events, attend city council meetings and join local business associations. Find out what is happening in your community – involve yourself. Donate products or services when possible, so long as it doesn’t put you out of business, a donation can at times be more effective than any paid ad placement.
Online presence is more than just getting likes on a Facebook page. Not only are you more available to current and potential customers – but you can truly establish a presence online as an expert in your industry. When you have that online presence, it will be much easier for you to connect with reporters and other industry professionals. Follow local, regional and national news reporters and stories – interact with news that matters to your business – build relationships. Remember – the profiles you are following here also share a lot of content relevant to your own audience. Be sure to share – mention the writers and journalists behind the stories as well – let them know you are reading and engaging – ask them questions – prove your authority in real time.
TweetablesWant to be a resource for the news? Be helpful, not self-promotional.Click To Tweet
Help A Reporter Out – A fantastic resource for businesses and other experts to help reporters with their assignments and get featured in the news.
If you would like some further reading on the subject, an excellent book is Making the News: A Guide for Nonprofits and Activists by Jason Salzman. One of the key quotes in the book that really stood out to me was from a reporter at a major daily news source: “A lot of what gets covered depends on personal relationships at the paper.” Don’t expect the first email to a news source or reporter to go answered, let alone covered.
Build relationships over time, then capitalize on it later, once you have built trust and authority in an industry.
Have you recently received some press coverage for your business?
Any advice of your own I may have missed? Let me know in the comments below.