Smart PR Strategies
by Kevin Nunley
Paul opens his favorite business magazine to find a fawning
interview with Amazon's Jeff Bezos. Then he picks up the
morning paper and reads a long story on a new donut chain
being built in his town. Later he catches a feature piece on
CNN about a guy who sells funny handmade shoes and
learns accounting secrets from a CPA in Ohio.
Media hands out millions of dollars in free publicity every
day. As well as advertising works, a media story about you
almost always pulls better. The familiar and respected voice
of a newspaper editor, magazine writer, TV reporter, or
radio personality talking about you holds lots of weight with
How do all these businesses get media coverage? The
secret varies depending on what your business does and
HOW BIG it is.
Large in-the-news businesses like Amazon.com get
coverage for practically any development. Political figures
find their words in the media for almost any
pronouncement. The local college football team gets press
even if there is nothing much to cover.
A Different PR Strategy For Small Businesses
Your small business can have a much tougher time if you try
to approach media the same way big organizations do.
Media is almost entirely owned by large conglomerates and
staffed by media pros who have never worked in a small
business. The overall industry mindset is that big business is
news and small business is--well--rarely news.
This all changes, though, if you offer good information or
advice that will be helpful to the media outlet's audience.
Newspapers love it when a tax expert offers tips around tax
return time. Radio stations get a big kick out of anyone
who can keep their audience laughing. TV likes anything
that is visual and brings out emotion (hide the keys to a new
car in a pool of jello, ask contestants to swim to win, and
watch every TV station in town turn out).
Let's focus on you as the media savvy expert. This is
without question the best strategy for consistently getting
your small business in the media.
Start by taking inventory of the areas you are, or could
become, an expert in. Think in terms of the kinds of
information a general audience would find interesting,
helpful, or moving (these days many in the media try less to
explain and more to create emotion).
If you have a day care center, make a list of ten ways tired
parents can keep an energetic youngster entertained and
learning. Run an auto body shop? How about ways to
avoid getting taken by mechanics and insurance companies
after an accident.
If your area of expertise can relate to a hot topic in the
news--all the better! Historians, lawyers, detectives, and
political scientists get in the media several times each year
by giving informed tips relating to an event or scandal in the
news. You may even be able to provide a local angle for a
Finding Media Who Will Cover You
I have found the best way to get covered by newspapers is
to first find the reporter who handles stories like yours.
Read through the paper's web site. It usually tells which
reporters are assigned to particular topics (like the business
editors or technology reporter). Many papers give reporters
wide leeway in what stories they cover. Call the reporter
and deliver a short, too-the-point message on why you have
a story THEIR AUDIENCE would find interesting. Get to
the juicy, memorable part first.
Follow up quickly with a press release, question and answer
page, and a bio about your business history (sometimes
called a backgrounder).
This same strategy works well for getting covered in
magazines, industry journals, and on major web sites. Use
search engines to find articles on topics that match your
business. Look up the article, find the author's email
address, and suggest another related story that, of course,
includes your business or expert information. This often
works surprisingly well to generate PR for you.
ProfNet.com has a service where journalists and writers can
post topics they are trying to get information on. As a
business or non-profit, you pay $50 to $100 per year to see
these posts. Your multiply your chances of getting covered
by ten when you respond to a reporter with good usable
Magazines often post a list of subjects they will be covering
from one issue to the next throughout the year. This is
particularly true of industry publications.
Expanding To Radio
While you have your media materialss in hand, call local talk
and news radio shows. Speak with the host or producer.
Explain what is interesting about your information and,
again, follow up with your release, Q&A, and bio.
The same strategy can work for getting you on top radio
morning shows. Radio comprises well over half of all the
media outlets in the US and many other countries. Don't
over look it.
As you get media coverage, collect quotes from the media
folks who have worked with you.
"Jean kept the phones lit up for an hour"
KXXX San Diego, CA
"Interesting information every home owner should know."
The Daily News Canton, OH
Build your list of stations and publications your business has
been featured in. Include reprints when possible. Media
folks love to cover stories and feature experts who have
already been successful elsewhere.
Stay in touch with media who cover you. Send a
handwritten thank you note to editors, reporters, and on-air
personalities. Make sure YOU are the expert they think of
when your topic comes up in the news throughout the year.
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice, copywriting, and
promotional packages. See all his tips to help your business
or career at http://DrNunley.com
Reach Kevin at
email@example.com or 801-328-9006.
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