Getting your message out to your target market is one of the hardest things for small businesses to do. Many people think spending money on advertising is the best way to do this. I disagree. Although advertising brings desirable results when used effectively, it can be very expensive, especially for small businesses with small marketing budgets.
Another way to get the word out is publicity. What is publicity? According to Wikipedia, the all-knowing oracle of the cyberworld, publicity is the “deliberate attempt to manage the public’s perception of a subject.” In this case the subject is your business. Sounds just like advertising doesn’t it? The difference is the cost.
In the advertising game you pay an established sum (usually more than you are willing) to get specific positioning in some medium. You can completely control the content and, to a certain extent, the audience. But what if your industry’s trade magazine wrote a story on your product or service for a large audience of your target market to read, and it didn’t cost you anything? Sounds great! But if you decide to wait for this to happen, you’re going to be greatly disappointed. You have to give them a little nudge, and here’s how to do it:
- Pick the medium that is the most in line with your message.
- Find out what kind of stories they present and who is actually doing the stories that relate.
- Write an article or a release that tells your message, but make sure it is an informative message and not an advertorial.
- Submit it to the editor or the actual writer/broadcaster you want to cover your story.
- Follow-up, follow-up, and follow-up.
There are a couple of ways in which this process of getting your message out will actually turn into a media hit.
- The media may pick up on the story if it is newsworthy to them
- The media may decide to use you as an expert in a story that relates to what you do
If you can target the right media you will get the best results. One great way to do this is to send in information that complements a news story or even a rebuttal. Follow-ups are common and enrich the life of a story for the media. Please note that it is not wise to be too aggressive with the contacts you find, they will not appreciate it. Remember it takes time to build a public profile and you will need to have some patience.
You may be saying to yourself, “As if someone is going to write about my business just because I write to them with some information. They can see right through me, right?” Let me relate what I heard in a recent seminar about using publicity in business. Think of all the different media out there in the marketplace. They each have to keep themselves interesting and relevant, so they’re constantly looking for stories to fill the void. In addition, they all work on deadlines, which sometimes forces them to pick the shortest route to get a story. If your article or release is interesting and newsworthy and happens to be in their immediate view when they need something, the chances of your message getting out are greatly increased.
That’s how you encourage the media to give you publicity! As I’m sure you can see, time is the major investment here, and not all of your time will lead directly to results. But the more you do and the more targeted you are, the more successful you should be.
Biz Link Radio has had some success recently in getting our word out. We were recently contacted by Ace Hardware to have Bill Rancic (Season 1 winner of Donald Trump's The Apprentice) come on our podcast and discuss what he's up to. You can listen to it at www.bizlinkradio.com.
Please contact me, Scott Clark, at firstname.lastname@example.org