7 steps to get your business in the media

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The success of any business hinges on its ability to know who its customers are, what they need, and how to make them believe that they need your product. No matter how well you know your product or business, if you can’t reach the customers who need and will pay for it, you won’t make the sales you need to thrive in a competitive market. Publicity, while an intimidating topic for many business owners, can help. Even if you are confident that you know what type of customers you’re trying to attract, actually getting those customers’ attention is difficult and, over time, frustrating.

Using the news or media outlets to carry positive stories about your business or products will help you grow your business and build the customer base you want.

To get your business noticed by the media, follow these seven steps:

1. Write your elevator speech. In a few sentences, sum up what makes your business different from your competitors.

2. List your objectives. List your top five goals, in order of priority, of what you hope to achieve for your business through publicity. Be specific, and always set deadlines.

3. Identify your target customers. Are they female or male? What is their age range? What are their lifestyles, incomes, and spending habits? Where do they live?

4. Identify your target media. Make a complete list of the media outlets—including newspapers, TV, and radio stations—you want to target. Identify the specific reporter or producer who covers your area so you can be sure you are pitching your ideas to the appropriate person. Then contact them directly.

5. Develop story angles.  Make a list of story ideas you can pitch to each media outlet, while keeping in mind the specific beat they cover. Develop story angles you would want to read about or see on the evening news. Plan a weekly, 15-minute brainstorming session with a peer, business associate or your employees to come up with fresh ideas.

6. Make the pitch. Put your thoughts on paper and draft an email pitch you’d like to send to the media. Start with a question or an interesting fact that relates your business to your target outlet’s audience. Then follow up with your pitch. Make your email no longer than three brief paragraphs. Don’t forget to include your contact information!

7. Follow up. The key to securing coverage is all in the follow up. Wait one to two days after you've sent your original info, then follow up your email with a call. If you leave a message and don’t hear back, call again until you get someone on the phone. If the reporter requests additional information, send it immediately and follow up to confirm receipt.

These practices, when cultivated and adopted, will provide you with the necessary extra oomph to push your business out in front of your competitors.

What steps are you taking to get publicity for your business?

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage, get on the wait list for Hearsay’s PR mastermind group (launching in February), or email me directly to schedule a Mini PR or Mini PR Plus session today!