Interview: Professor Mike McGuirk on How Brandwatch For Students is Used in His Classroom
By Olivia SwainSep 6
Published March 16th 2015
Press relations are not always a strong point for small businesses, since they don’t have an entire media relations department like many large companies do.
However, there are some of the strengths in the area of press relations that small businesses can take advantage of.
For one, press releases and media coverage can take the place of more expensive advertising campaigns and help create a better return on your investment.
In this article, we offer up 5 tips for small businesses that will help you achieve more PR for less effort.
Of course, your story is important to you, but is it newsworthy to the media?
When you are sharing your story with the media, whether it is in a pitch or sending out a press release, you have to find the news angle that will strike a chord with media professionals. That is how you can get them to run your story.
When looking at all of the media professionals, you will see that some cover your city or region, some cover your industry and others may cover something else that relates to your business in some way.
Journalists that are already looking to write about the news you have make your work much easier.
Be sure to keep a list of these contacts for the future.
Don’t forget to include bloggers, magazines, local news, as well as national and international journalists. At the same time that you can be targeting those media professionals that will want to cover your stories, you can also find journalists that are actually looking for you. Often times, journalists or media professionals are assigned a story.
They use a source called HARO, which stands for Help A Reporter Out. If you sign up for their email list, you can be notified when media professionals are looking to write a story on a particular topic.
If that topic is something in relation to your business, you can be connected to them.
News only has a short window of relevancy.
Be sure to get your well written or well-presented news out to journalists in a timely manner, far enough in advance for it to make their deadlines and before your news is no longer irrelevant for them to use.
All reporters, writers and journalists have deadlines, even if they don’t work in print media.
Be courteous and aware of that. Once you have contacted a journalist with your story, make yourself available to them. Supply them with multiple ways to contact you and let them know that they can contact you anytime.
Often writers are working right up against a deadline and if they can contact you and you can respond to them, it gives your story a much better chance of being run.
It is perfectly fine to hit up journalists on their public social media channels and let them know that you have something that might interest them.
Keep it professional.
You are likely to get much better results if you follow the media professionals you want to target in advance and engage with them at other times, not just when you want them to publish your news.
If you have an email list compiled that you are sending a mass or group email to, be sure to make it personalized.
Nothing is worse for a reporter than to think that everyone else received this, so their story will not be unique enough to cut it.
The important thing to remember is you could potentially have an advantage over large corporations, in that they can be impersonal. Play up the small business angle and show your passion.
Another way to show your small business personality is through your own pictures. Instead of stock-ready photos, you can supply media contacts with intriguing, attention grabbing, real photos from your business, your staff and your customers.
When you’ve got the PR ball rolling, you can track this using social media monitoring – more of which you can read about in this article.