One of the best sorts of free publicity for many small businesses may be the local news media. Every town has at least one local television station. Most have at least one local newspaper. Bigger towns and cities may also have magazines that cover the local scene, or newspapers devoted to local business. If local business owners take a moment to look around, they can probably find several publicity outlets for their business. Once these outlets are identified, however, the question becomes how to get those local newspapers, news stations and magazines to focus on your business. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Tip 1: Send good press releases: Some businesses think that the way to get publicity is to bombard a publication with press releases. In most cases, that’s the worst thing you can do. As a general rule, you should only do a release when something of note happens. Signing a big client, expanding your business, or adding new executive staff will probably be considered newsworthy. Celebrating your six month anniversary, or promoting someone from second assistant to first assistant probably won’t be of as much interest. Also, publications that get bombed with useless press releases from the same source will often simply discard the release as soon as they see it carries a certain name. You want your releases to stand out, and one way to do that is to only send them when you have something newsworthy to say.
Tip #2: The Media is always looking for an angle: Say you don’t have anything press release worthy happening, but you do know that the local news station has a morning show. Come up with three or four ideas for segments about your business specialty and pitch them to the director of the show. It may take a few tries, but local news shows, particularly morning shows, have a lot of time to fill. If you can make a good pitch for your ideas, there is a decent chance they’ll make the air. The same thing is true for newspapers and magazines.
Tip #3: Networking Always Pays: Getting to know the local media can pay off big, particularly when a reporter is searching for a story idea or a source. Even being quoted briefly in a news story can bring new business your way. If you build up enough of those quotes, you start to become the local expert. Spend the time getting to know your local media representatives, and make sure you’re meeting the reporters, not just the advertising sales people.
Tip #4: Local flavor can find local favor: The local news media, television especially, is very much invested in forming ties with the local community. Many television stations will run segments on local communities which often feature local businesses. Regional magazines may do the same. When you watch the local news or read a regional magazine, look for those sorts of stories, and make note of how you can submit your business to be included.
If you keep your eyes open for new opportunities and invest a little time and effort, you can find many ways within your community to publicize your business. Just remember that local reporters are looking for new angles on old stories and, like everyone else, they like things to be easy. If you can supply good information and a fresh way of looking at the same old story, you have a very good chance of getting some publicity, which will certainly give your business a better chance at being noticed.