Generating Publicity for your Small to Medium Sized business
Written by Janine
Getting media exposure is a tried-and-tested way to generate credibility and awareness for your business yet many business owners do not have the skill or knowledge to do it by themselves. The first rule to remember is that consistency is king. You can’t expect media to take you seriously unless you consistently engage with them; many businesses think that media will flock to your event or launch even if they have never heard of you. The truth is that media need a valid reason to engage with you over the hundreds of pitches and invites they get every day.
If you are serious about using publicity as a branding tool, you will need to prepare a consistent strategy with a resource (outsourced or internal) that understands how media operate. This resource will also need to know how to engage with digital influencers who may have huge sway with your target audiences. With the rise of social media other individuals or groups who are not traditional journalists have risen to the fore providing an alternative way to reach your customers.
Here are some simple steps to follow:
Identify the media you want to be in. Start simple with one or two publications/online sites. Look at their sections for example they may have various “beats” such as news; business; mentorship; entrepreneurship; style; entertainment; lifestyle. Ask yourself what do you have that will add value to the section? Is it interesting? Is it timely? Does it fit with current events and topics?
Start small. Don’t expect to get featured in the big magazines or broadcast media until you are known. Look for some quick online opportunities, local media or even local radio stations.
Find out who is the “owner” of that section. Don’t try pitch to the editor rather speak to the person who is responsible for the section you want to be in. The quickest way to see who this is researching whose name is on the articles being featured in the section. If you can’t find the person call the media house and ask. Alternatively you could use a service like Encyclomedia which provides updated media lists for you.
You need to catch the attention of the media you want to be in. The best way to do this is to write a catchy opinion article which you share with the media who you want to connect with. Make sure you have a summary of your profile ready as well. Preferably have this on your website so when the media has a look they can see what it is that you do.
Send an email, tweet or call them and introduce yourself. Explain who you are, what you are an expert in, and include the article you have written. Use the article headline as your subject. Make sure it is catchy. For example; 3 ways I made it in business or 5 things every entrepreneur has to know; (this depends on what their section is). If at first you don’t get a bite, don’t be discouraged. Persist and make sure you are offering up subject matter expertise that is relevant!
When you get featured or interviewed make sure you do the following:
• Tweet the article using the @ handle of the media
• Share it on all social channels
• Put it on your website with the logo of the media house
• Include it in a mailer to clients/prospects
• Keep doing this every time you are featured
Reaching Influencers in the social media space
Influencers are people who have a large following and are considered a credible source of information; they could be an industry expert, a celebrity or a blogger. Getting noticed by influencers online can do wonders for your credibility.
You need to become an authority yourself. When you are, influencers will see you as a peer. So you need to blog/ be on social media if you have the appetite because it can be time consuming.
Your biggest way to get noticed is to find those influencers, follow them and then you need to do some things:
- Share their interesting posts – pay it forward to your own followers
- Reply when you have something relevant to say
- Share a blog with them that you think they might find interesting
- Your blog must be well written, have a catchy headline
- Position you as an Authority in your field
Add value to whoever reads it