There is so much talk of the internet and how online marketing is doing wonders for small businesses that some people are forgetting the active role that traditional marketing once played and how it continues to play a major role for small and medium size businesses. Following on from the previous post How does Direct Mail compare to Email Marketing, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to expand on how traditional marketing methods such as the press can take a businesses to a whole new level. Press can include the alternative, global internet method, but let’s concentrate on local press coverage for a localised target audience.
If you’re a SME (small and medium enterprise) and would like to attract an audience or customers from your local region, then a very good way to do this would be to market your business through the local newspapers, local business journals or even regional radio stations via advertising programs where you pay per insert or radio spots. Although, this is good method to drum up business through direct impact, a better way however, is by gradually building strong credibility through continuous editorial coverage.
Here are some tips and techniques to get coverage in your local press media:
It really doesn’t matter where your business is based as there is bound to be a handful of goo0d quality press outlets that will give you editorial coverage. However, you will have to get to know your local newspapers, radio stations and journals well enough to see what kind of coverage they provide. Is the media good for your audience, what kind of stories and content they distribute, the distribution ratings and most importantly, research the readership or listeners of that press media.
Get to know the press
Get to know the people behind the press outlets in your region. Who writes the stories, who reads the news over the air and who the business editors are and what kind of coverage they regularly look for. In order to maximise your chances of meeting with the press people, find out what kind of networks they may be seen at, which business network groups attract journalists and if you do find one, go ahead and attend and build your credibility within the group. You may want to take up prominent roles within the networks in order to be more visible, but remember, those positions must be attended to with the highest professional integrity.
Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the reporters as they are just as much interested in meeting new people with new stories as you are in publishing those stories.
Research and write
For you to write the best editorials possible for your business, research what other businesses are writing about, how they are executing the finest stories and indirectly pitching to their local audience. Think of any up coming events you may be involved in through business, or how your business raised money for a particular charity… these would be great stories for an editorial. Published interviews are also a fantastic way to get visibility in the press, especially, if it is concerning the local area and affecting people in a particular way.
Remember, journalists are mostly interested in good quality stories and reports written to the the highest standard. So be clear in what you write about and the style you write in.
Keep the content very clear outlining any problems and benefits that will help the local community. Keep the headline short, but robust in terms of its immediate appeal. Don’t write lengthy paragraphs, but instead split them up into bite size chunks of content. Include related resources along with additional notes. Most importantly, provide quality photographs that relate to the editorial and your contact details along with any social media links.
Create a collaborative opportunity
If you are running a contest with give-aways or a competition that generates great PR momentum, then don’t miss out on talking to the press media. The press love to offer its readers an opportunity to get more interactive through competitions and sweepstakes. What about getting free PR? Most local press are happy to get involved by providing coverage if your business and you are doing something out of the ordinary and something beneficial on a local level such as, a marathon, charity fundraisers, community donations, sponsorship for a park etc.
Maximise the PR potential by negotiating a well deserved coverage for the best possible length of time and in other associated press outlets. We are not trying to take advantage, but merely, trying to get the best possible reach for all the hard work you will have put in.
As the title suggests, a superb way to gain press coverage is through success stories your business has gained. For example, if you have secured a large business contract through a tender that might have involved fighting off large international firms then get the press on your side.
Awards and accolades speak volumes for your company, and if you have received any, why not tell the press? As a local business, this would be seen as a great achievement amongst the community and there is no better way of highlighting this then press coverage.
May be your business is celebrating 50 years in business… wouldn’t this offer an amazing press opportunity? Local businesses who celebrate their anniversary and longevity in business proves to be valuable for the local area. Talking about success stories is far more appealing for PR coverage through the press as it shows the vibrancy and healthy nature of the local and regional community.
Monitor and measure
Like any marketing effort, monitoring and measuring your response and momentum is absolutely essential. There is no point in putting so much effort and time into creating press PR if you’re not interested in investigating how the results came about and what made the least impact. You will want to identify what didn’t work as this you must avoid or refine for the next time. At the same time, the PR that has brought success, you will definitely want to continue and with that learning branch out into other areas of the press media.
So, monitoring and measuring is a necessary process on which you will want to spend quite a bit of time.
To summarise, getting press coverage in your local press media is a great method to get your local community talking about your business. Local can grow into ‘national’, and thereafter ‘international’ if that is your intention. So, look at this traditional press medium as a viable way to grow your business. Yes, the internet offers some amazing marketing opportunities, but on a local level, press media is probably one of the most powerful tools for publicity.
What are your thoughts? Do you have stories of how the press has created positive impact on your business or even negative impact?