In today’s “on demand” media culture, traditional media continues to be a critical component of any business’s marketing strategy. Television, radio, newspapers and various print publications hold the power to reach mass markets and can drastically increase your business’s visibility. These outlets also rank as the most-trusted formats for advertising, with 80% of media users trusting print ads above all else. However, that trust comes with a hefty price tag, and many small businesses miss out on the opportunities of traditional media due to budget limits.
So, then, how can small businesses harness the power of these outlets without breaking the bank? The answer is by earning coverage through good old public and media relations. But in order to do so, it’s important for business owners to understand how to best communicate with journalists, and those working in media, to effectively disseminate their message.
In this podcast from Hungry Marketing, marketing expert Jennifer Friedlin offers six tips to improve your business’s public relations strategy. Listen in and learn more about how to score earned media and get your message out there.
1. Know your audience
Focus on media outlets that will reach your ideal customer. By pitching reporters that cover your industry, you increase the likelihood of reaching your target audience. Contacting a combination of print, radio and television outlets will guarantee that your business’s message will be received across a variety of age groups.
(Source: Pew Research Center)
2. Stay organized
Create a master list of your media contacts with their outlet’s name, email and phone number in order to get in touch with them quicker. Include each journalist’s specialization to help you target reporters for specific events or products.
3. Give journalists a reason to cover your story
Providing a hook or emphasizing the novelty of a product helps you stand out and increases your chances of gaining publicity. Use holidays and seasonality to your benefit as they provide effective and timely news angles. Remember: reporters are bombarded with new pitches every day so you must give them a reason to cover your business.
4. Position yourself as an expert
Don’t stress if your business doesn’t have any upcoming events or new products! By making yourself available not only as the spokesperson for your business, but as an expert in your field, your company’s credibility will increase as you gain exposure. Doing so is a win, win!
5. Provide all necessary information
Your pitches and press releases should include a clear angle and be free of industry jargon. The more usable information you provide to a news outlet, the less work they have to do to print your story. Providing a quote in a release saves even more time, and it may be used as the basis of an article, ensuring your message’s distribution.
6. Be persistent – Follow up!
If a journalist is busy, ask if there’s another time to talk. If they respond with disinterest, ask why. This feedback will be helpful as you move forward so you can edit your pitch to better target reporters. Remember, reporters’ inboxes are overflowing and it may just be the wrong time. Gaining a working relationship with local reporters who cover your field will help you in the future when looking to get the word out about a new product or event.
About Excelsior Growth Fund
Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF) helps businesses in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania grow by providing streamlined access to business loans and advisory services. EGF’s signature product, the EGF SmartLoan™, provides up to $100,000 in fast, transparent, and affordable financing through a secure online platform. Larger loans up to $500,000 are also available. EGF is a nonprofit organization and is certified by U.S. Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Learn more at www.excelsiorgrowthfund.org.