For your business to be more visible, you need the press to come calling. But how do you maximize your exposure?
To gain great PR attention from the media, start small: be consistent, and attempt to get some sort of mention every month. Don’t overlook community newsletters or local papers – these can be a great starting point, since they reach a targeted group of people who can become a supportive following. It’s easy to find contact information online for local publications – or check their masthead (that’s the section in the paper/magazine that lists all the editors, story writers, etc.) for extra names and numbers.
Send out a press release monthly (or twice a month, if you have enough news!). Choose a topic that is interesting to other businesses in your industry, educates potential customers, or focuses on community involvement.
Here are some useful topics:
- Announce a personnel change – you’ve added a new employee/partner, someone was promoted.
- Your business is expanding because of a significant new project or big partnership with a customer.
- Your company is offering an educational seminar open to the community.
- You (or one of your employees) will be speaking at a professional organization’s meeting.
- A trade association has recognized you/your company for excellence in your industry.
- Your business is sponsoring a charitable fundraiser.
- There are a high number of women or minorities in management positions within your company.
- Through innovation, your business has solved a problem in your industry (new product/strategy).
- You have a strong opinion on a community problem that you feel your company could help address.
- Celebrate the 5th, 10th, 15th, 25th, or 50th year of being in business!
Also look for the “story-within-a-story,” announcements that can lead to continued media coverage. For example: you send out a press release to announce that your company is sponsoring all its employees to clean up a community park – repaint the fences, seed new grass, spread new mulch, plant some trees, etc. Within that announcement, you invite others in the community to join you. Right after the event, send out another press release announcing the “reopening” of the park. You could get a small article about the clean-up day, then a follow-up story highlighting the work you’ve done in the park!
Press releases for print (magazines, newsletters, papers, etc.) should be sent to: a reporter, a features editor, or the managing editor (or all three!).
For radio/television: news director, program manager, feature editor (sports, food, lifestyle) or individual reporter. Call the station to find out who would be the appropriate person and how you can reach them.
You can use the same content and send your press release to many different people every time – shoot for at least 5 media people each time you send out a story.
And for more information on press releases and other marketing techniques for your small business, check out our favorite read.