PR is a great way for a small business to raise its profile and get noticed by customers and potential clients. For many small businesses, however, it’s a daunting and difficult area to crack without experience or contacts. Your first step is to understand the key ways in which you can get press and media coverage.
Achieving press and media coverage really comes down to four approaches:
Shouting about the news that you have
This involves contacting journalists with your news. It often requires drafting and issuing a press release and talking to journalists by phone. It’s worth remembering that journalists bin the vast majority of press releases they receive so you need to ensure that your press release abides by certain rules and actually has some news in it. The other major grumble journalists have is that they are approached with stories that are not relevant to their audience. Doing a bit of research goes a long way – your aim is to build relations with journalists not annoy them.
When you don’t have any news to shout about then you can create news
There are certain requirements of a news story that a journalist looks for. If you know what they are then you can create a news story. For example, journalists like stories that present something ‘new’. They also like stories including the results of research. So, you could carry out, or commission, research relevant to your business sector and get some press and media coverage on the back of it. Likewise, announcements that are linked to anniversaries are popular with local publications. Stunts would also fall into this category. They type of news you create will need to be tailored to the specific publications or programs you want to target.
Comment on the back of other people’s stories
Barely a week will go by without a story appearing that you could comment on. You can send in a letter to the editor of a publication or contact journalists direct if you can add something to the story – a fresh insight or angle. It’s worth becoming familiar with what key journalists are writing about so you can identify what would appeal to them.
Make yourself an expert
It’s not all about news. You can also make yourself an expert and provide in depth analysis and comment on a topical or relevant subject. Journalists are always seeking potential interviewees and experts to help them fill air time and provide fresh content. Research your key press and media to identify possible opportunities and then approach them with ideas. Radio programs which regularly feature phone-ins are ideal as they are constantly looking for topics to cover.
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