Gaining media coverage may not be as hard as you think. Cecelia Haddad explains.
Media coverage of your business is one of the most effective ways to build reputation and increase awareness. Where advertising broadcasts for the purpose of selling, media coverage can positively influence how people and potential clients react when they hear your name. Additionally, it carries that third party endorsement that advertising can’t buy. All publicity is not good publicity, and getting in the news for the right reasons is definitely the kind of publicity you want.
When seeking media coverage you need to know two important things: ‘who’ you are (as strange as that sounds) and who you are targeting. It can be useful to take a step back and figure out what sets you apart from your competitors. Why should anyone listen to what you have to say? ‘Who’ are you trying to be – an expert for example? Then identify a spokesperson for your business – that could (and should) be you. Get familiar with your target audience – both those who influence thoughts, decisions and actions and those who take action. Once you identify these elements you can pick which tactics suit your business and target audience best. Finding aspects of your business that are newsworthy is important but can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. These simple methods will help you see your name in print in no time.
1. WHAT’S NEW ABOUT YOU
If you’re holding an event, promotion, or offering a new service then congratulations – you have a newsworthy element! Identify what your story is and how it can benefit your target audience. Most people want to hear about what’s in it for them, so keep the ‘features’ at bay and focus on the benefits. Highlight how this will make a difference to their lives, be it through added convenience, safety, financial savings or anything else, to raise awareness about your news. It’s best to time media coverage earlier rather than later so be sure to pitch your story before the event takes place.
2. WINNER TAKES, WINNER TELLS
Receiving an award is a celebration of your achievements and the perfect opportunity for media coverage. Highlight what you did to win the award and what makes you stand out from all the others – this is what will make people interested in your services. Official recognition can build credibility and set you apart as a leader in your field. Explain what the award is, and make sure to include any photos from a ceremony. Imagery is especially important for news articles and having an identifiable face helps to personalise the business.
3. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Participating in community activities or supporting local infrastructure is a great way to draw attention to your business. If you are active in building community infrastructure such as community centres, halls or schools, or even things as simple as constructing a section of a local fair, this demonstrates activity in community engagement as well as skill. Simply, it shows you care.
4. A PIECE OF ADVICE
Use the unique knowledge of your profession to your advantage. Some local papers have sections, often in ‘home’ or ‘real estate’, where experts provide useful tips and hints in the form of added value stories or advice columns on home maintenance or easy renovation projects. They don’t have to be complex but serve to position your business as legitimate and knowledgeable. If readers find the advice useful they will often seek out further information from what they now see as a trusted source.
5. CASE STUDIES
If you’ve worked on a fixer-upper in the past that recently sold for $2million you have the perfect case study on your hands. These are excellent for the ‘real estate’ section of the local newspaper as they’re relevant to the area and a currently-booming industry. Not only does this showcase your work visually, it gives the audience the ability to imagine what a difference you could make to their property. At times you may not have any new developments in your business. This is the ideal time to look back and find some exemplary case studies.
6. BUILD A PROFILE
Building a public profile that identifies you in the community is essential if acting as a leader or spokesperson of your company. Often newspapers may have ‘reader of the week’ sections focussed on a local figure. While this will centre more on a person than the business, it provides the opportunity to highlight any contributions or activity the business may have had while establishing a strong, relatable identity.
7. AIM FOR ONLINE
Generating business online can’t be ignored, and there are ways to help build your online profile and drive traffic to your website. Submitting opinion pieces to blogs or local online papers can establish a prominent online profile, especially when tied in to social media. Be sure to include links to your website and any social media accounts so people can find out more. The sharing feature on platforms such as Facebook lets you highlight any coverage to followers. The key is in commitment – regular posts and interaction with followers on social media is integral to building an effective online profile.
Keep in mind that when seeking to gain media coverage for your business you need to take a proactive approach. When contacting media organisations have a clear idea of what the story is and why it is suited to that publication. A solid grasp of who you’re trying to reach and what your business provides will make it easier for journalists to write about it.
Finding your place amongst the headlines doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Some simple tactics canhelp to find what aspects of your business are newsworthy and construct a great reputation in the wider community.