In business, there's nothing wrong with tooting your own horn. In fact, a healthy dose of self-promotion can thrust your business into the spotlight. And that can earn you legions of new customers and increased sales – for free! Positive publicity can:
- Make your company seem larger than life.
- Make your audience want to be a client or customer.
- Lead to even more attention from the media.
Get hookedBefore you contact the media, you need to come up with a "hook" or an "angle" or something special about your business that makes it newsworthy. Are you hosting a grand opening or sponsoring a local charity event? That might be a story angle that will get a reporter's attention.
Craft a one-page press releaseA press release is what you send out to the media in hopes of attracting attention. Press releases follow a standard format, which includes your contact information, a headline and the "who, what, when, where and why" of your message. Always make sure to put the most attention-grabbing information in the lead paragraph.
Spread the wordWriting a winning press release is only part of the publicity game. Getting it into the hands of the right journalists is equally essential. You can take the DIY approach to searching for media contacts and mailing out your releases, or you can purchase a media list and sign up with a distribution network that sends your press releases out to journalists based on geographic location, industries covered and such.
Create a media kitMedia outlets may request a media kit from you so you'd better have one on hand. A media kit should provide a solid overview of you, your company, the services and products you offer, and your clientele. Place all this information in a presentation packet (a simple folder will do) along with your business card.
Speak upGet the word out about your business by giving speeches or seminars about your area of expertise. Start out by speaking to groups at your local chamber of commerce or civic center. Then branch out and pitch yourself as an expert to local talk radio producers who are always looking for informative guests.
Consider hiring a professional PR consultantIf you're looking for an ongoing media campaign as opposed to just a one-time boost, you may want to consider hiring a media specialist. A PR professional already has established relationships with the media, knows how to craft press releases that get results, and ensures that your business gets the promotion it deserves.
choose the right PR firm.
- Follow-up is key to publicity success. Email or call reporters to make sure they received your press release and to see if they need any additional information.
- Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression with the media. Be sincere, warm and enthusiastic.
- Always send a thank-you note to reporters after you've been interviewed. Few people do this, and it will make you memorable.