Publicity Tips for Small Businesses

A great article or TV segment about your business can be much more effective in increasing your brand awareness than advertising. The question is, how do we get the media to listen to us? Here are a couple of tips to help!

Relevant and timely angle

All of us, business owners, feel that our offerings are unique. I encourage you to step into the shoes of a producer or editor and think about what the story is.

  • Is the story timely? Maybe your product or service connects with a holiday. Holidays celebrate just about every industry these days, take a look here for some ideas. You could also make lists of target publications and their editorial calendar topics that fit your business offerings.

  • Timing is everything. For daily newspapers, blogs, and radio, I suggest pitching your story four-to-six weeks out from your target date. Working on any shorter of a timeline reduces the potential for pickup. Those beautiful glossy magazines? Think about pitching these stories a year or more in advance.

Support materials and visuals

Before pitching, always have visual assets ready for your journalist. A pitch that is built out well and has visual support will have a greater chance of getting picked up. Some visual tips include:

  • Be sure your visuals are relevant to the story you are pitching and not template product shots. Think about showcasing your product or service in use. Images with people in them tend to be picked up more than blank product shots.

  • Do you need video? If you are pitching broadcast, you are more likely to get a segment if you have video (industry term is b-roll). Consider b-roll that shows your product process, customers enjoying your product or service, or your product and service “in action.” The video doesn’t need to be a commercial or even have audio. Clear and crisp 2-3 second shots is all that is necessary. If you’re putting a video together for the first time, take a look at a story on your favorite broadcast TV show, like Good Morning America or the Today show. Watch how the producers use the video to help make the segment more visually appealing as a spokesperson tells the story.

  • Have a well-written press release. Your pitch should be tight and targeted to the receiver; however, you should have a press release that provides all supporting information. Your press release has all the details like who, what, when, where, and company history.

Do your homework & build relationships

Know the journalist’s work and understand the article you’re pitching.

  • Each time you reach out to a journalist, please Google them. Look at their recent work for trends and style and past work for stories that might be similar to the one you are thinking about pitching. Make a note of their journalistic style and adjust your pitch accordingly.

  • Build relationships with journalists at outlets important to your business product or service. In doing this, you position yourself as a leader in your industry. When journalists know you are a trusted source, they start coming to you. Additionally, taking the time to build relationships now becomes beneficial in breaking news or crisis situations.

  • Research your pitch idea. What’s out there that’s similar? If you find a story similar, dissect it so you can a) have all the supporting materials needed and b) make yours better. What media has picked up your competitor? Journalists won’t run the same story twice, so how are you going to differentiate your pitch? Another way to get great pitch ideas is to check out businesses similar to yours in other cities and the press they’ve received. Model your pitch to the coverage that strikes you the most.

Pitching the right way can take some time, but you’ll see rewards for being a trusted, thoughtful and thorough resource. Or, you can hire a publicist. Do you have a product launch or event coming up and need press support, let’s talk about working together. Schedule time with me or shoot me an email. If I’m not the right person, I’m 99.9% sure I can refer you to someone that is.

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