I’m often asked for advice on this one. And with good reason … media exposure is probably the most cost-effective way of communicating with your marketplace. Follow these steps and you will discover that it is surprisingly easy to get exposure for your business.
Choose a publication that communicates with your market.
Write a newsworthy story – a story that will capture the attention of the readers (and therefore the journalist) of this publication. Tell your story the way the publications’ readers would like to hear it, not the way you would like to tell it.
Give your story a powerful benefit headline and, if possible, choose a story with a use-by date (like a seminar or a special event of some kind).
Read the publication and identify a journalist that has written a story with a content similar to yours.
Phone the publication and ask for that journalist by name. Tell the journalist that you have a story that might interest their readers and then relate your story’s headline (fire your big gun first).
If the journalist perceives that you have a good story they will probably ask you to send some information. Fax them your story along with any other relevant information you have (include copies of stories written by other journalists).
If you don’t hear from the journalist within a few days, it often pays to follow up by phone. Just be sure to keep your tone low key. (It’s nice to phone simply to advise them of a new development.)
Assuming your story goes to print, it is imperative that you thank the journalist. In fact even if your story doesn’t make it to the publication’s pages, I would still thank the journalist for giving it their consideration.
How not to do it …
I’ve seen many companies produce literally hundreds of conventional (read boring) press kits and post them to every newspaper and T.V. station they could think of.
Well this kind of shotgun strategy will work if you have a story that is absolutely earth shattering, but if you don’t … it probably won’t. Journalists prefer to feel that they have discovered an exclusive scoop, rather than being battery-fed a mass-produced media release.
Unless you are dealing with a very small publication, do not try to bribe media with advertising dollars. Journalists (quite rightly) believe that they are servants of the general public and not servants of yours. (Adverts will not generally sell newspapers, but good editorial will).