Thank you for sharing your insights on what a collateral strategy should look like. Can you expand on how to go about getting traditional media coverage for a small business? I am looking to get more attention for my company.
– Joshua McIntosh, Vancouver, Canada
Getting media coverage is a great way to establish your brand and possibly get new customers. However, most small businesses don’t have the budget to hire a public relations firm to do this work for them. Luckily, with the emergence of accessible technology tools, most entrepreneurs can now do all their press relations and marketing by themselves, although it can be time-consuming hard work.
In addition to creating a media kit, here are some tips on getting media attention:
Set up your website: Once you have completed your digital media kit, you should put it somewhere on your website that is easily accessible to both journalists and potential customers, such as creating a “Press Room” page or on your “About” page. On the press room page, the media kit can also be accompanied by press releases that announce new products/services, events and other noteworthy new information, including any previous press attention.
Get to know the media: It would be a good idea to follow certain reporters or news outlets and know the types of stories they write about and who their audience is. You don’t want to waste your time pitching to the wrong reporter or its audience. Most media outlets have websites and active social media accounts, which makes the media more accessible to you. You want to pitch to a short list of journalists that are reporting about story ideas that are relevant. Find out if the reporters prefer to be contacted by email, phone or social media. Speaking of which…
Know what you are pitching: Having a good idea of what you are pitching and its timing will make a difference. Does your story idea relate to an upcoming holiday or cultural/social/industry-related event? For instance, if you are a florist, now is a good time to pitch story ideas related to weddings and graduations.
Get to the point: When you contact a reporter by email, social media or phone, keep it short and straight to the point. Reporters are constantly getting pitches from many different places. This is why your email subject line is important, as it may be the only thing the reporter sees. In the subject line explain your story and why it matters as quickly as possible.
Follow up and be accessible: There is nothing more frustrating to a reporter who actually likes your story idea, but can’t get in touch with the business because the business contact is too busy some reason. When you make a pitch, make sure to include your contact information that is best for reaching you in a timely manner. When a reporter contacts you, make sure to get back in touch with them as soon as possible. Otherwise, they may skip on your story idea.
Stay connected: Once you get press coverage, make sure to let your customers know about it on your online presence. Also, stay in contact with the reporter who covered you by regularly sending them new story pitches.
All of this will not get your press instantly; it may take a while before your first story pitch gets the green line from a media outlet. But once you have that first press coverage, this will make the whole process easier.
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