Good press can make the phone ring, drive traffic to your website and conjure new customers seemingly from thin air. It can also lead to even more press, while boosting credibility and brand awareness. But, how do you make it happen?
Here are some tips for creating press attention for your business.
Build solid relationships with local media.
You stand a better chance of getting local coverage if you know the media members in your area. Connect with local "beat" writers and target your messages to the most relevant journalists. Don't worry about limited circulations, especially if your product or service is targeted toward local populations.
Leverage online resources.
There are a number of online resources that connect business experts with journalists. One great example is Help A Reporter (HARO). With this platform, business owners are able to register as experts. They then receive emails about specific journalists who are looking for credible sources. You can also connect with journalists using platforms such as Muck Rack, Experts.com, PR Newswire and ProfNet. These services all charge fees; however, the costs pale when compared to the thousands of dollars per month (minimum) you might spend on a PR firm.
Know your customers.
There's no point in getting coverage from publications that don't cater to your customers. Make sure you know what your customers are reading. Unless you are targeting a general audience, focus your efforts on niche industry publications.
Know the journalists.
Writers don't write about startups in the health section. That is unless the business has something relevant to say about that specific industry. Make sure you know who you are contacting. Never send your press release to everyone at media outlet, or there's a good chance it will find its way into multiple SPAM folders. Identify the correct writers and organize their names in a database, or you may as well be shouting into the wind.
Maintain constant availability.
It's hard enough piquing a writer's interest. If you're lucky enough to sell your story, make sure you are available for questions and interviews. Because they work under tight deadlines, journalists can't afford to waste time trying to connect. Odds are they will have a whole stack of other options if your story falls through. Make sure to provide a good phone number and return calls immediately, or you may lose your chance for some profitable exposure.
One great way to elicit media interest is to provide new, unique facts and metrics related to an industry. A good method of gathering this information is by doing a small study or survey. You can either do this over the phone or by utilizing online survey sites, such as SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, Checkbox, Zoho Survey and Survey Planet. If your data offers compelling insight, you can get it published on major media channels. There's also a good chance of syndication, which can significantly boost brand credibility, while creating a viral-like influx of new customers and increased media interest.
Maintain your credibility.
If you are constantly pitching promotional-style material to a writer, you can bet he or she will stop taking you seriously. Be careful when pitching a story about your business. Ask yourself if the information is really newsworthy. Will it help or interest readers? Does it say something new or insightful about your industry? If not, reframe the material or start over completely. Remember, your company's relationship with the media isn't about one piece; it's about long-term cooperation that benefits you, the writer and the media outlet.