Using the Media to Grow Your Business
Starting out in small business can be hard. And making the decision to use the media as a marketing strategy is likely to be last on the list. Most start-ups either feel the strategy is simply too difficult to do themselves and the costs of hiring a PR agency, prohibitive. But it needn’t be.
Let’s talk about the simplest and most cost effective ways you can use the media to boost your business and get your name out to the masses. I want to take you through a few simple steps that either you, or a member of your team, can have a go at;
Yep. Simply pick up the phone and give your local rag a call. If you’ve got an interesting story, an exciting and innovative new product, an upcoming event that can help locals, or even an opportunity for readers to win something, find an angle, locate the contact details for your local media outlets and offer them your pitch. You don’t need to be a PR mogul to offer a journalist an interesting story. Prepare what you are going to say and keep it short and succinct and get straight to the point, straight away! Your aim is to intrigue the journalist, make them want to know more! But remember, journalists don’t need to know too much detail so don’t be tempted to share your life history during this initial pitch.
Build relationships with the journalists you engage with. Journalists, especially those working for local media, often call upon the sources they’ve already got piled in their memory bank for quotes, case studies and photo opportunities. Be polite. Offer good quality content. Make yourself available. Remember their name. Take the stance of an expert in your field. And always reply to them as promptly as possible! Journalism moves fast and if you want to be the go-to person for your industry, you need to be available!
Building solid relationships with journalists means that you’ll be offered more opportunities to get your business name in print, as a radio guest or even on TV.
Use your resources
Using the resources available to you is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to promote your business. SourceBottle for example, offers free callouts to all sorts of people ~ small business owners, bloggers, experts and the like ~ all you need to do is respond to a callout from someone looking to write an article that fits your description., By responding as soon as the callout comes out, answering the question precisely and again, pitching an intriguing angle, it is likely to result in you being contacted and the likelihood of getting your mug in a daily newspaper, a glossy mag or niche blog are high and all it’s cost you is your time. The added bonus is again, you build connections with journalists ready for pitching to again. Soon you too will have a ‘Little Black Book’!
Respond to current events
Got a response to a recent turn of events? Think your service or product could remedy a recent expose’ or study? Perfect. Journalists love to follow up one story with another, especially if your expert advice can turn the original angle on its head. Don’t be frightened to offer your opinion, so long as it is respectful of course and don’t limit yourself to newspaper articles ~ think radio, television, magazines and blogs too. But be quick! You need to pitch such an angle the day the original story breaks.
Use your social media prowess to tag the media outlet you’ve got in your sights. Offer a response to a story they’ve recently printed, share their post, tag and type ~ you never know if it will result in a call from them. The crucial thing to remember here is that you need to present a solution, a secondary opinion or support their original post ~ by offering them something more, you are establishing yourself and your business as a positive, potential source for a follow up story.
So there you have it ~ some seriously simple, cost effective options for obtaining media coverage for your small business on the cheap. You can start with local media to build up your confidence and then branch out wider. And quite often, national stories are obtained from a local story so do not underestimate the power of local coverage. The main thing for you to remember is to be constantly on the look out for your opportunity, stay up to date with current events that relate to your industry and to respect that while you might not be successful in getting a front page story on your first phone call, persistence and patience play a key role in your ultimate outcome.
Have fun with the media and let me know how you get on!