People need to know about your business and what you offer if you are going to make any sales. An often overlooked opportunity is getting regular stories about your business into the media.
While it is not a replacement for advertising, a news story in the newspaper, a magazine, online or on the TV or radio can be a cost effective tool for raising your profile.
Research shows that a story is up to three times more valuable than an advertisement because it provides a third party endorsement. People see an advertisement for what it is, but a story is written by someone independent.
One famous local example of using the media to generate publicity was when John Church Advertising helped the Greater Building Society announce that it had secured Jerry Seinfeld as the face of its marketing campaign. The news spread like wildfire from the front page of the Newcastle Herald across morning TV programs to radio news and programs across Australia. More than $2.5 million in publicity was generated before a commercial even went to air.
There are risks. Advertising is controlled media. You control what your advertisement says and are guaranteed it will be in the media at a time and place of your choosing.
A news story is uncontrolled media. There is no guarantee the media will take up your story. Often they will add to it with an opposing view or other commentary. Even if a journalist is keen to tell your story, a natural disaster or some other bigger news event may mean it ends up on the news room floor.
Here are five things you can do to help increase the chances that your business story is breaking news.
- Make it newsworthy
The story must be interesting to the readers or listeners of the media, not just to your company. Milestones, things that are happening for the first time or last time, innovations, new job and investment creating projects, work that benefits the community and human interest stories are just some topics that may be of interest to a news outlet.
- Make it timely.
News is something you didn’t know yesterday. Journalists prefer to report on things that will happen or have happened today, not things that happened weeks ago.
- Make life easier for the journalist.
A well crafted and BRIEF media release or call/email with the news angle and relevant key facts will help you to get a media outlet’s attention. Most media outlets have details on how to send news tips on their websites. Think about the media outlet you are trying to interest, what do they need?
- Be available.
There is nothing more frustrating for a busy journalist than getting a news tip and then not being able to reach the person who issued it or the person with the knowledge on the topic. Mess them around and it is unlikely journalists will be jumping at your next news story.
- Look beyond the news bulletin.
Letters to the editor, opinion pieces, and expert columns (or guest blogs) like this one are all examples of other publicity opportunities.
With my colleague Craig Eardley (a PR consultant with more than 20 years experience) I am running media skills workshops for business people this month.