The thrill of seeing your name in print or hearing your name on the radio is exponentially increased when you know you’re not paying for the privilege. Adding public relations to your sales and marketing mix can help you experience that thrill for a fraction of what it costs to buy equivalent ad space.
Often with very little effort, you can get coverage and build relationships with the media outlets that cover you. Far from being a practice reserved for spotlight seekers, it’s a legitimate way to increase your reach and your credibility economically. In fact, if you do your own PR work, you could reach thousands of potential clients without paying a penny.
While publicity stunts certainly have their place and can make an impressive local splash, you don’t have to feel that you have to create news to become news. In fact, all you have to do is find and tell the newsworthy stories that already exist in your business or point out the tie-ins between your business or expertise and a current or celebrity event.
Seeking Out The Media
One of the easiest ways to get your name out there and establish yourself as an expert is to sign up for the Help A Reporter Out service at http://www.helpareporter.com/. Every day reporters and editors are looking for experts and laymen to quote for stories they are already working on.
There’s no need to come up with ideas on what reporters might be looking for; all you have to do is follow the instructions and respond in a timely manner. Good timing is essential as the reporter is often working on a tight deadline and their mailbox does get inundated with well qualified responses very quickly.
Of course, you don’t have to wait for someone to cover you. You can actively submit story ideas to the press directly through regular press releases. Before you send your first release, do spend some time learning how to format and word them correctly.
The approach is vital, as the wrong approach can have reporters ignoring perfectly good stories based on a bad impression. It’s not difficult to learn how to do right, but it is worth hiring a professional press release writer to put your story into media terms if you aren’t completely confident in your own efforts.
Why You Should Use Press Releases
- Grand openings or re-openings after renovations – You’ll need to be solid on why your opening or re-opening is newsworthy, as traditional cutting of the ribbon ceremonies don’t hold a whole lot of interest for the media without a bit more of an edge. Lead your release with why your opening is important.
- New ownership announcements – As with openings, you need to be clear on how this impacts the readers, listeners, or watchers of the media. Once you identify what’s important about your new acquisition or what you are going to do with it, you’ll be ready to share.
- Winning of an Award – Winning is almost always news, if it is relevant to the audience. You can use this tactic even if the win was in your private life, like your bowling team winning a competition.
- Achieving a Milestone – If your business is reaching a significant milestone, like having been in business for 10 years, let the media know. You may score a feature in the business section asking you for your secrets of success.
Not all press releases will lead to coverage. Which is why consistency in your efforts and networking with local media when the opportunity arises are recommended. Both increase your odds of getting coverage when it’s warranted by being newsworthy.
Once you do get coverage, you’ll want to make sure you leverage it by sharing it everywhere appropriate. That means making sure you develop a media section for your website. In this section you’ll include clips of any coverage you’ve received, a list of topics that you’re open to being interviewed about, and all your press releases.
Of course, you’ll want to include links to coverage through your Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts as it happens too. Often coverage in one outlet leads to coverage in others, so you can get significant mileage from one activity and become seemingly magnetic in your media efforts.