How to get the Media to Grow Your Business

newspapers

Since you’re in business to make money, your marketing strategy needs to succeed at getting the attention of your target market. One of the most effective ways to do this is also one of the most inexpensive tactics around. It’s called “gaining earned media exposure” and in plain English it means getting a reporter to tell your story in the media.

Whether you obtain a feature on television, in your local newspaper or in a popular blog, the key is to obtain coverage from publications/media outlets that are popular with your target market.

What makes exposure in certain media indispensable for your business is the influence that these outlets have upon your audience’s opinions.

For example, if you specialize in designing websites for real estate agents and you’re able to get a real estate reporter to write a feature on how your services help agents to sell homes, that feature will have a tremendous impact on agents–your target market.

The mistake that some business owners make with their media strategy is to put all their energy and resources into getting  a news release prepared and distributed to every possible publication and media outlet in their region or across the country. Blanketing the media with a news release that may or may not be relevant to the reporter or editor receiving it is a waste of effort.

Many reporters receive hundreds of news releases a day. It is highly frustrating for them to be sifting through news releases that never should have been sent to them in the first place.  Your goal is to avoid having your news release pitched into the trash bin.

What you want to do is to adopt the mentality that you can offer a story that will help a reporter or blogger to deliver information of value to their audience.

Here are some tips for launching your own effective media relations strategy:

  1. Write or hire a writer to prepare a one-page news release that highlights something newsworthy about your business. If you aren’t launching anything new, think how your business can tie into something seasonal or current in the news. Using our website designer as an example, she would be wise to craft a news release that piggy backs on the excitement of an upcoming home show event or newsworthy trends in the home buying market, etc.  That kind of news release can actually help a reporter to write a better story.
  2. Do your research to identify reporters by name who report on topics in your niche or area of expertise. Personally address your news releases so that they’ll be opened by the person you want to do your interview. Find out how these reporters prefer to receive their news releases (by fax or email).
  3. Send your release to your custom list of reporters and editors before 8:00 a.m. on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday morning. Monday is usually best (that’s when many outlets have their weekly news editorial meetings).
  4. Call each of the reporters or editors to which you have directed a news release about 1 to 2 hours after sending the release.  Offer to provide other information if needed. Make sure that you are accessible by phone after sending out the release.

It is far more effective to send out a well-written, concise and newsworthy release to a couple of reliable news wires (like PR Web and Marketwire) and a targeted list of reporters that you know report on your topic, than to send the same release to dozens of media outlets that you take off of the web or from some other resource or directory.

Be strategic, be clear on your message and follow up with the news outlets, blogs, etc. where you really want coverage.  With that approach you just might get the kind of media coverage that can make a big difference in your business’ bottom line.

smcmillan

Sharon McMillan has spent over 15 years creating successful marketing materials and public relations campaigns for small businesses and professional organizations in the U.S. and Canada. From her perspective, the Internet is truly a life changing gift for the skilled employed or unemployed individual with a dream of entrepreneurship and the willingness to learn.

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32 Responses to How to get the Media to Grow Your Business
  1. Sharon Mc
    November 2, 2010 | 5:54 pm

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    November 2, 2010 | 9:16 pm

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    November 3, 2010 | 7:52 am

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  14. Terrinda S. Davidson
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  18. Terrinda S. Davidson
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  19. Terrinda S. Davidson
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