Getting your business or your product in the newspaper/blogged about/on TV or radio/etc. is a great way to raise awareness amongst the public. I’ve seen clients’ phones go into melt-down, websites crash and product lines sell out after their business/product has been featured in the mainstream media. So, how do you get it there? The short answer is hire a PR company (seeing as you’re at the littleBig website that won’t be hard!). To achieve consistent, long term, strategic and specific results from your media relations strategy you need experts on the case but if you’re a small business with zero marketing budget that won’t be possible.
Here is a very simple four step guide for how to aim for coverage:
1) Zero in on not just a media outlet, but a page/section/segment/column/etc. that is relevant to what it is you do. For example, if you sell baby clothes then the Baby Steps page in the Sunday Herald Sun is a good place to target.
2) Come up with an angle that is relevant to your product but most importantly, is of interest to the readers of that page and not like an ad. Be honest with yourself here. Your angle needs to make sense on the page from a format point of view, ie. don’t pitch a feature article idea for a half page product of the week style section, and also a topic and newsworthy point of view. Let’s again use the baby clothes example. The fact you have designed a range of baby clothes inspired by your gorgeous child is NOT news. Perhaps what is news, is the fact you’ve designed a range of baby clothes that grows with baby and will fit them from age 0 to 3 due to some amazing fabric technology you’ve developed. Admittedly this is a particularly unique angle but you get the idea. The media are looking for angles that are unique, often quirky, interesting, entertaining and have a ‘wow’ or a ‘I did not know that’ factor.
3) Find out who edits, writes or produces the page/segment and obtain their phone number and email address. This is often as easy as reading the page in the paper. It’s only as hard as calling the TV station/publisher/etc. and asking who is responsible and for their contact details.
4) Construct a brief pitch outlining the most newsworthy aspects of your idea. Make this no longer than three paragraphs or dot points long and email it to the appropriate person or call them, explaining who you are and that you have an idea for their page/segment.
Be prepared for a ‘no thanks’ and if that’s the case accept the authority of the person you’re pitching it to and leave them to their busy day. Move on to another target. The main things to remember are that you need to keep your pitch super relevant to the specific page/segment you’re aiming to appear in and resist the temptation to make the pitch all about you. It’s not an ad remember. You’re approaching someone with editorial control with an idea that will be of interest to their audience and that happens to feature your business.