Get people excited about your business with some media attention!
Capturing the attention of media is one of the most challenging efforts for business leaders big and small. While many of us consume news daily, many business leaders might not understand all that goes into creating a news story that viewers/readers/listeners want to consume. It takes a lot of planning, strategy, creativity, and knowledge of what constitutes a newsworthy story in today’s fast-paced, social-sharing world. But where do you start? Take a look at these three small business PR ideas that will get people talking about you and your brand.
1. Support a charity:
Philanthropy and community service demonstrate your public spirit, and enhance your business reputation. Select a cause that aligns with your brand. For example, I am on the board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Rocky Mountain Chapter as a representative of our firm as many of our team members know someone affected by blood cancer. To support a cause that is important to you and your business, organize an employee volunteer day. Provide financial or in-kind support for an issue that is already getting local attention. If your business volunteers, take photos or video of your business’ support to share on your social media properties as well as with media. Reporters (and their audiences) love feel-good stories, especially when they are relevant to current affairs happening in the community—remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and how much attention that got?
Many of the American Business Journals (like the Denver Business Journal) publish a “Good Works” section in the weekly newspaper. Your business could submit information about your recent charity effort, mentioning any statistical information possible including number of hours volunteered per quarter and/or monetary donations.
2. Draw a crowd:
Hosting a business event that celebrates a milestone, raises funds for a nonprofit, or offers photo/video opportunities can raise awareness of your business and draw a crowd. Numbers are persuasive when you can tell a local TV station that you are expecting a big turnout. Plan an event with preregistration so you can estimate how many people are coming. Remember, not all events are necessarily newsworthy—events like networking gatherings or client appreciation days. Those are best for sharing on social media and in your business e-newsletter. Maybe your business is celebrating a monumental anniversary (e.g. 20 years in business) or hosting a fundraiser fashion show for a local nonprofit. Recently, we had a client who celebrated a groundbreaking event in honor of a new renovation project on a historic property. The unique history of the property and renovation gathered local media to cover the event. These are the kinds of visual-oriented stories that capture media attention!
3. Do the groundwork:
Any story has a better chance of being picked up if you make it easy to grasp. Focus on taking engaging pictures and video footage, offering catchy quotes, and providing interview subjects who are able to answer questions and offer more information. Doing all these things (in addition to making sure the story is relevant, timely, and has a wide public appeal), will allow you to present “a story in a box.” If you give the reporter all the necessary details like who, what, when, where, why, and how descriptions plus photos/video and interview opportunities, your chances of getting noticed increase dramatically! This strategy also shows you understand what the reporter needs to cover the story, indicates preparedness, and establishes credibility.
Now that you have done all this work, remember to follow up with your pitches so your efforts keep paying off. Work at developing a personal relationship with your media contacts. Follow and respond to their work on Twitter and Facebook. Offer yourself as a source in your area of expertise. Stay on top of editorial calendars and deadlines, and stay in touch. Don’t just send them story ideas from your business either—show the reporter that you care about their profession and their work by occasionally offering up story ideas unrelated to your business. The more you are able to maintain those touch points with your media contacts, the better relationship you build and the more top-of-mind you become to them when your expertise is needed for a story.