One of the most important things any new business can do is to get their company and product featured in the media. But with agencies charging large fees, hiring professional PRs is not always an option for the small business owner. Here are five quick, easy and free things you can do to get yourself media coverage, and kick-start your brand’s media presence.
1. Work out something you do well.
This does not have to be the product you offer or the service you provide but could be the company culture you are creating, the way you have secured funding, or how you have approached your brand identity - work out what you do well and create a case study around this to pitch to journalists. A real true-life story of how you have tackled a problem for your business is often much more interesting to the media than a polished product release.
2. Make yourself an expert.
Once you know what you are good at, make yourself an expert in this field. There are many ways to position yourself as an expert and it does not always require a full page feature. Let relevant journalists know which subjects you can offer comment on and you will often find that you are called-on to provide context to other stories.
There are also many free media alert services you can sign up for which let you know when journalists are looking for specific quotes or interviews. Providing quotes or commentary is an easy way to get your brand featured regularly and set yourself up as an industry authority.
3. Look beyond your brand.
It is a popular myth that PR has to directly link to your sales funnel. It can be just as valuable to build brand awareness with your audience without always directing them towards the till.
Creating fun content which taps into your audience’s interests but does not necessarily link to your product gets your brand on people’s radars and makes sure your potential future customers associate you with something positive.
If your business works with office equipment, for example, instead of trying to make people excited about the latest detachable hard drive, look at creating content around things common to all people in offices - like collating data on the most common office complaint or the reasons most people leave their jobs. Not only is this much more likely to make the news, but it will reach a much wider audience and more potential customers.
4. Build a network.
Though you may be a small start-up, there are ways to harness the same clout as bigger corporations, and one of those is to link up with other small businesses. Create a network of local businesses or look for groups of similar businesses you can join online. Not only will this give you the support and expertise of other people in the same position as you, it can also form the basis of a story about your shared experience.
Once you have a network of several thriving businesses you can pitch your local area as a business hot-spot or suggest a feature on your industry and how small businesses are disrupting the status quo. Having a fully formed story with several businesses ready to comment is a tempting offer for any business journalist and increases the chances of getting your business mentioned in the press.
5. Host events.
Now you have established a network of similar businesses and understand your unique offering you can start using your business to host industry events.
Invite other business leaders, journalists and commentators to attend discussions of topics relevant to your sector. Having your target media attend your event and listen to your thoughts on the industry is a great way to suggest topics for them to cover and for you to build a rapport with them in a less formal setting.
Getting to talk to journalists face to face makes all the difference and allows them to understand the person behind the brand - making them much more likely to want to run a story on you and your business in the future.