Media relations requires that you give the media ‘newsworthy’ information. If your message is something that you would normally use an advertisement to say (for example, announcing that your business is having a stocktake sale or that you are better than your competitors), then this is not newsworthy.
Q. So what do you do if your business is not newsworthy?
A. Either create your own news, or use other PR tools besides media releases or news announcements.
Option 1: Create your own news
This tends to be a more expensive approach so is often more accessible to businesses with big budgets.
In a former role, VHA (Vodafone Hutchison Australia) was one of my clients and they wanted to enter the SME (small to medium enterprises) market to compete with Telstra and Optus who have specialised offerings for SMEs. However, they did not have many new or exciting offers for SMEs that would be newsworthy to a journalist. So we created the Vodafone SMB Index, a national survey of over 1,000 Australian small-to-medium business (SMB) owners, which produced some interesting and encouraging findings. This was published in small business publications with Vodafone’s name throughout, right next to the word ‘small business’.
Another example is this short video of a stunt created by a PR agency in America for a chocolate company (is it just me, or is it ironic that a chocolate company is trying to promote healthy portion control with the world’s largest chocolate bar?): World’s Largest Chocolate Bar
Option 2: Use PR tools other than a media release
A media release or news announcement should be reserved for real news. In the absence of worthwhile news, you can still achieve positive media coverage for your business. Here are just some of the ways that you can do that:
Interviews and feature opportunities.
As a small business, you are obviously particularly skilled or have a unique offering – otherwise why did you start your own business in the first place? You can share that knowledge and get coverage for your business by participating in scheduled features and interview opportunities. SourceBottle is a fantastic service for this. Also a PR agency with good relationships with key media can pitch you as a spokesperson for interviews, or as a case study to be involved in scheduled feature articles and news pieces. Some examples of scheduled feature articles include:[unordered_list style=”circle” number_type=”circle_number” animate=”no” font_weight=”bold”]
- Spring Fashion at Melbourne Cup time
- New Years resolutions or business trend predictions at the cusp of a New Year
- Gift features at Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas.
One really great way of getting media coverage is to position yourself or your business as a helpful expert through contributed editorial, or bylined articles. These are articles providing helpful advice, how-to tips, bold commentary and explanations. You are attributed as the author with your name attached. Often your company name, website, a short bio and a photo of you are also included in the author line. For example, I write articles for Dynamic Business magazine.
Opinion pieces are similar to this where you are providing your passionate opinion on a topic relating to your industry. For example, busting myths, exposing money-wasting schemes or causing debate.
Another way you can get media coverage is to offer media case studies. If you have some client case studies where a business has used your services resulting in a measurable ROI (return on investment), you have the opportunity to offer media a case study of your business success story. If put together in the right format with the right information and materials, media love case good studies. I recommend getting a PR professional to help you as they know what each individual journalist wants.
The best way to approach media relations for your business, is to think from the perspective of a journalist. A journalist is interested in articles/news that their readers would enjoy or benefit from.
[blockquote text=”If you can provide material in such a way that makes a journalist’s life easier and would benefit the readers of the media outlet, then you are well on your way to securing media coverage for your business.
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What experiences have you had with media relations?