Most small business owners wonder how they can get a piece of the PR pie as their competitors always seem to get the coverage they deserve. There are quite a few variables that factor into securing the front page or a segment on the six o'clock news. Ultimately, it's all about nurturing your relationships with the local media. As soon as you demonstrate that you're a reliable resource for information and you'll go the extra mile to ensure their story is the best it can be, you will have taken the first steps towards getting a leg up on your competition. Step One: Put Yourself in the Shoes of Local Media Reporters
News desks and reporters are continually looking for stories that stop their readers, listeners and viewers in their tracks.
Reporters are tying regional, national and international stories into local angles, is your business providing services/products to particular customer demographics that tie into these large-scale trends/news?
Do you have a customer or client with an awe-inspiring story that you were part of?
Is your business going against the grain of traditional business and reaping the benefits of it?
Has your business earned an industry or local award, reached a milestone or been involved in a newsworthy, upcoming event or highly-anticipated initiative.
Is your industry approaching the summer/tourism season or a particular holiday and you have a product or service that has the "WOW factor?
Bottom Line: Review what you're already doing, examine what may stand out and strike a reporter's interest.
Step Two: Get Reporters' Attention
Traditional press release...yes! Traditional delivery...no!
First, your headline...think eblast subject line or Tweet, it has to be eye-catching!
Your content needs to spell it out succinctly, making sure to include the critical, statistical elements and quotes that make your story newsworthy. Sometimes coverage comes from your release verbatim if their deadline doesn't allow for a phone call or onsite visit.
Delivery Part 1: If you host a "Media" section to your website, be sure and post on social media giving the quick and exciting "in a nutshell" version of your great news using keywords, tags & hashtags, images, and a link back to your website-hosted press release or section that speaks to your great news. Now you're prepped for when the press does their homework on you, plus you've initiated the buzz you're looking to generate.
Delivery Part 2: If you already have a great relationship with a specific reporter, send an email directly to them with a personal note, imagery, and make sure the release is pasted inside the body of the email...your attachment may trigger spam controls.
Delivery Part 3: For mass releases, you can utilize your eblast service so you can monitor who is opening and what they're doing with your email. This is a gamble though since this form of email may trigger their spam controls, so an email from your business account is recommended whenever possible. Be sure to have an eye-grabbing subject line just like any other eblast you want to have opened. Include a "personal" note, reducing the mass email feel while also making sure the release is visible and readable as soon as they open your email.
Got time? Make a follow up call or send an email to those reporters that opened your email, offering an exciting update to what you've already sent.
Imagery speaks more than 1,000 words, hopefully your coverage will exceed that too! Be sure to include links to great photos/video that depict what's going on and why your story is so powerful. This is yet another benefit to having hired a great photographer for last year's event as your image/video can now be featured.
Bottom Line: Use today's technology to communicate with your local media...think old school with a digital twist.
Step Three: Make the Reporters Glad They Called / Make Their Lives Easier
Before you get the first media call/email from a reporter, be sure you're ready.
Write out your top five cues for points you want to get across to them...make it conversational, they will immediately know if you're reading.
Line up three different contacts/perspectives they can talk to. This might include clients and vendors, but be sure to always line up reliable, charismatic customers.
Offer to provide a media tour filled with great visuals, which paired with your contacts you're providing, you've now provided a one-stop-shop for your reporter so they can spend more time with you and less time driving across town to speak with your competitors.
Bottom Line: Do the reporter's work for them and make their "to do" list shorter, they will thank you for it. For most small businesses, public relations is the most cost-effective way for driving immediate traffic and sales. These opportunities don't usually fall into your lap, but they do come from doing a little homework, which is typically your sole cost for what is usually priceless exposure.
To fully capture the power of PR and to learn the art of working with your local media, we offer comprehensive PR & Media Training courses that will make sure you're prepped and ready the next time the media comes knocking. Overall, the diversity of our experience coupled with an objective view to your business gives us the ability to craft the ultimate way to drive your traffic and jump start sales.
"Bryce is a true business partner whose expertise you can rely on when it comes to your marketing needs. When I was new to town and needed help crafting a plan of action for raising my company's visibility, Bryce gave me the tools and information I needed in order to take action right away.
He explained things in a way that I could understand (with zero marketing background) and addressed each of my needs with care. He really got into my business and I felt as if he was thinking as an internal advisor. He made strategic recommendations I hadn't thought of before and offered to connect me with relevant contacts in his network. Bryce is thorough, knowledgeable and he's a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend him and the Root Group's services."
- Sylvana Rochet, Founder, The Insightful Executive