Small Business Diva

December 29, 2007

The secret to getting the media to come running to you

How many times have you heard people comment on how difficult it is to get a press release read by the right media representatives, or how hard it is to get good editorial and TV coverage? I don’t know about you, but I hear it all the time.

It’s true… media outlets receive so many press releases each day that many go unread. Many more don’t even make it past the headline. Would you like to know how to get your press release read or better still, how to get the media to come to you, wanting to give you coverage and promotion?

I’ll let you in on the secret…

Simply give the media what they want.

“Yeah, simple,” I hear you say. “How do I know what they want?”

In all honesty, most areas of the media – print, radio, television, Internet – are always looking for good content to give their readers, viewers and listeners. Start by listing your target market and what publications they read; what shows they watch; what radio stations they listen to.

Next, read those publications, watch those shows and listen to those stations. Get a clear idea of what their style is and what they might be looking for. Now, how can you provide what they are looking for?

Most publications aren’t really interested in a new business because there are new businesses every day. But if you can show them HOW your business can BENEFIT their readers/listeners/viewers, you’re in with a chance. You need to find a unique story angle. What problems might their readers/listeners/viewers have that your product or service can solve? For example, there has a lot of talk around here recently about how easy it is for children to go missing. Let’s say you specialize in a product that can reduce the incidence of a child going missing, or that can help track them quickly. Write a press release that highlights the issues surrounding missing children, focusing on the emotions involved, rather than adjectives about how fabulous your product is. Then go on to state that there is a product available that can help minimize these incidents and give information about your product and its benefits.

Do not use your press release as a chance to advertise your product. That simply won’t work. You need to demonstrate a solution to a problem.

Next, make the journalist’s job as easy as possible. Journalists are very busy people. The easier you can make their job, the more inclined they are to cover your story. Give them good quality information; include a quote or two (journalists LOVE quotes); make sure you provide clear contact information for yourself, or whoever they should contact for further information; let them know that you’re available for an interview.

Once your story has been published or aired, send a brief note or email to the journalist involved to thank them, and let them know that you’re happy to help them next time they need information regarding your area of expertise. Once the journalist knows of your expertise and experiences how easy it is for them to work with you, they’ll come looking for you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg but I hope it helps you. Good luck – please send me the details of all the media coverage you get!

Here’s to your business success…

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4 Comments »

  1. Amen! I started a company with my 17-year-old sister called myfirstpaycheck.com, we help connect young adults with part-time job and volunteer opportunities and we’ve had some great early success pitching this story to local media. We’ve been posting here, http://myfirstpaycheck.com/newsroom.html
    what do you think?

    One specific piece of advice that you don’t mention in this post, but has worked for us is to write opinion pieces and letters to the editor. It’s an easier way to get your name out there and it builds up your credibility as an expert.

    Thanks!

    Comment by Austin — January 2, 2008 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  2. That’s great Austin, and your site looks good too – what a fantastic idea. Posting details of your publicity on your website is also good.

    I agree with your comment about writing opinions/letters to editors too – that’s another good way to get your name out there.

    All the best to you and your sister with your business.

    Comment by smallbusinessdiva — January 2, 2008 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  3. Another tip I would add is to have some professional photos of yourself that you can send to the media. There have been a few opportunities I would have missed if I didn’t have photos, including coverage in The Herald Sun in Melbourne.

    Comment by Melissa — January 3, 2008 @ 8:01 am | Reply

  4. Good point Melissa. A lot of people don’t have suitable photos readily available.

    Comment by smallbusinessdiva — January 3, 2008 @ 11:45 am | Reply


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