Having a story printed about you and your business is the best form of FREE advertising there is. Why you ask? Because it’s believable.
A news story in a local or national publication can give more details about your business in a way that allows your expertise to shine. People skim through the advertisement sections but are more apt to read informative articles.
Think about the last time you opened your newspaper and saw a story about a local business. Perhaps you read about a trendy new restaurant or martini bar that piqued your interest. Or maybe a neighbourhood book store was bringing in a famous author to promote her new book. Did the story grab your attention? Were you enticed to take action and check it out? Chances are if this topic was of interest to you, it did.
The two keys to getting a story written about you are:
1. Have a hook that grabs attention (in other words, your story must be compelling/newsworthy).
2. You must find the right market for your story.
Sending a media release to every editor of every newspaper and magazine will get you no where quickly. You will soon make a name for yourself – and not a good one at that. You already know (or you should know) how to find your ideal customer – your target market. It’s the same process to find your ideal publicity vehicle.
The first step in figuring out who to send your well-written media release to is to look at your own target market.
- What newspapers, magazines, and trade journals do they read?
- What television shows are they watching?
- What radio stations are they listening to?
Next, research the editors, journalists, freelance writers, and producers inside those publications and programs that work on stories relating to your industry. But always keep in mind that it is their job to publish their newspaper or magazine or to air their television or radio program. They entice people to subscribe, watch or listen, and encourage advertisers to pay money for ads. Their job is not to promote you.
Editors have their audience’s interest top of mind. To be effective, consider the journalist’s perspective. An editor will be reading your media release to see if it is of interest to his or her defined audience.
It takes time to create a targeted media list but the effort is worth it. Names are usually posted on Web sites and newspaper mastheads. It may take an enquiring phone call to see the best source for your story. As you grow your list of targeted contacts, you are developing a reference guide not just for sending your media releases, but also for article writing that can help to boost your business exposure.
Keep in mind that publicity is not about you – it’s about giving editors what they need to create a strong story. In other words, you’re making their job easier by giving them exactly what they need to create a compelling piece…and getting free publicity for your business as a bonus.