Get To Know The Media And They Will Give You The Best Publicity – FREE!
Develop relationships with local reporters for newspapers and business journals. When deadlines come around, more often than not, reporters and editors are searching for stories in a hurry. If you know them and routinely communicate with them, on many occasions they will call you when they need a story. You could write the piece or contribute heavily to an article they are writing. Many times the reporter will just do a quick interview with you over the phone and then prepare something. You cannot go wrong with this kind of exposure. The more you are written about or quoted in publications, the more your business is recognized.
Call your local reporters to let them know who you are, what you do and that you are willing to help them out with future articles if they need someone in your field. Send them a note every once-in-a-while to let them know you are still out there waiting to help them any time. A polite call once in a while can also help to develop the relationship. When deadlines come down to the wire, you will be at the top of the list to be featured in an article because they know you and feel that you can be trusted.
Get into the positive habit of writing articles, press releases and stories for your local trade association or service club newsletters, as well as local newspapers and magazines (both local, regional and national). You have to start somewhere so do not be intimidated by the prospect of writing for a national publication. Volunteer to contribute to a small newsletter first. Believe me, they need help and will usually welcome you to write a beneficial article for their newsletter.
NOTE: Any piece you write cannot be a direct advertisement for you or your business. It has to have value and benefit to the reader and you will usually get a good plug just by being in the publication. Once you start to develop a little portfolio, it is easier to approach larger publications. This will not bring you immediate results but it will give your business great perceived value to be in print. You can write a small article even if you are not a professional writer and then you will improve the more you do it. The publicity is great and this kind of promotion is FREE!
When you can help the reporters, editors and publishers of newspapers, magazines, trade association and service club newsletters and business journals you are not perceived as a pest. I got to know a local reporter through friendly calls and consistent contact. After a few months of this communication, she called me for an article she was writing on overcoming burnout for a business journal. After a fifteen minute interview on the phone, I was quoted throughout the piece she wrote which turned out to be a several page article! The exposure was fantastic and I did not have to pay a thing. Put in a little effort and you can receive great promotion for your business without having to spend a dime.
Press releases are also a wonderful way to garner free publicity. News publications are always in need of good, interesting information tidbits. A press release is not difficult to write and you can use the media to give your products or services extra perceived value. People think that if your business is “newsworthy” that it must be really outstanding. You can use local news publications as well as regional and national media outlets for your releases. It is even possible to send your press release via fax. You can contact Business Wire at (212) 575-8822 or PR Newswire at (212) 832-9400. These services reach over 2,000 print and broadcast editions in minutes at a fair price.
NOTE: You should be able to find a book or reference at your local chamber of commerce that provides all of your local media information. These guides usually give examples of how to write press releases for local publications, who to contact and how to go about getting the promotion you need.
Here are some references to media resources on a national level:
Bacon’s Publicity Checker
Bacon’s Publishing Company
332 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60604
This guide includes contact information for 1,591 daily newspapers, 13,848 weekly newspapers and 9,677 trade/consumer magazines and newsletters. Bacon’s also provides lists for radio and television stations.
Another reference with listings of 1,627 daily and 5,867 weekly newspapers, 235 magazines, 430 trade magazines, 2,820 professional business publications and many radio and television stations is:
Gebbie Press Inc.
P.O. Box 1000
New Paltz, NY 12561