5 Ways to Score Media Coverage for Your Small Business
You’ve got a fantastic business with top-notch products, a friendly staff, and an inviting atmosphere. The only problem? No one seems to know you exist.
You could blow your budget on advertising, but how many people would pay attention? You’d much rather be the featured story in the newspaper than a small ad in the sidebar. If you’re ready to make headlines, but don't want to pay a PR firm to do all the work, here are a few ways to get your name out there.
1) Reach out to your local media. There’s nothing wrong with starting small, even if you’re pitching tiny regional papers. Larger media sources often look there for ideas, so a headline story in a free weekly could be the ticket to more mainstream success. There’s no need to create a formal press release to reach these outlets: Just send the paper’s editor a concise, but informative, email about your business’ launch or a newsworthy activity you’re promoting.
2) Seek out bloggers and journalists who cover your field. For instance, if you’ve just launched a new baby food product, sending friendly emails (and possibly product samples) to parenting bloggers and editors could help you score some coverage on the web. Be sure to personalize each email and compliment specific examples of their work; no one likes a form letter. Mashable has more details on how to run a successful blogger outreach program.
3) Hop on HARO. If you’re not familiar with HARO (helpareporter.com), it’s a free email newsletter featuring journalists’ calls for sources, which goes out three times a day to an audience of thousands. Sign up for the newsletter and pay close attention to the queries, keeping an eye out for requests that fit your company and will provide you with positive exposure. When you reply, include a paragraph or two of specific information in response to the journalists’ needs; writers often receive dozens of replies, so you won’t stand out unless you can show that you’re the right fit in your initial correspondence. See more tips for making the most of HARO.
4) Contact your alumni publication. Your college likely has a magazine dedicated to alumni accomplishments, so why not send a note to share your business’ story? There’s a good chance you’ll score a writeup. Even if you no longer live in your college town, this media attention could help you build influential business connections among fellow alums.
5) Sponsor a local event. If your company has a local focus, host a party or event. For instance, if you own a café, sponsoring a free concert or art exhibit can draw a crowd and likely get your business’ name in the next day’s coverage. Be good to your community, and your local papers will be good to you.
What other strategies have you used to score press coverage for your company? Share them in the comments.
Kathryn Hawkins is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.