Telling your story of is a critical component of marketing your business effectively and when you’re a small business, it can be challenging to find the time to share your story in an interesting, newsworthy and consistent manner.
Many companies seem to think creating content for social media and engaging with customers online replaces the practice of public relations, which basically manages how information about an individual or organization is communicated and shared with the media, then the public. It’s important, but it’s not enough. You need both things working simultaneously and successful, large corporations understand this and employ them both to their company’s advantage.
You can talk about how great your company’s products and services are all day long through ads, but having someone else say great and wonderful things about your company’s products and services or just sharing basic information through coverage in print, broadcast and digital media outlets, lends essential third-party credibility, and is more valuable.
With the deluge of news releases and pitches members of the media get daily, breaking through the clutter of pitches they get is essential. Here are a few tips to telling your story in a manner where media will pay more attention:
Make sure your story is newsworthy:
Media outlets are looking for news, so it is helpful to determine what stories you want to tell and how it fits into topics of the day. Is your product or service the first, newest, biggest, best at something? Some great opportunities for stories can be things your business is facilitating, like studies, research, events or any good-deeds you’re doing in the community.
Make sure your story is timely:
Consider developing an editorial calendar that has potential story ideas that can leverage holidays, events and other key moments in time where your company information may fit and be of value to media covering those topics.
Use high quality photos, visuals, graphics, videos to accompany story pitches:
Sending great pictures, flyers, and links to short videos for television media that share additional background, also helps with securing coverage with digital media looking for great content. For TV media, you should always think in terms of visuals and the benefits those visuals can provide to their viewers.
Determine the story’s potential reach:
Does the information you want to share apply on a local, state, national or global level? Depending on story’s reach will be the type of media you will need to research, contact and pitch.
Create a media list:
Getting placements is hard enough as a small business, so you should target your media and which media contacts (including editors, reporters, writers, bloggers, producers and bookers, etc.) should you reach out to by creating a list. It’s just not advisable to send information to media that doesn’t cover your industry.
The fortune is in the follow-up:
After sending information to media, follow up is key! Again, media representatives are sent thousands of news releases daily, so picking up the phone and calling them to make sure they received what you sent and pay closer attention to it, is important.
These are just a few tips on securing media coverage for your small business. As you can see there are many components to it, which can be very involved, as well as time and labor intensive. Hiring a PR professional is always recommended, but if you can carve out the time to dedicate to these activities, you can begin the important process of securing media coverage for your small business.
Norma Stanley is president/CEO of E.E.E. Marketing Group, Inc., an Atlanta-based multicultural marketing communications and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consulting company