When you’re not getting any media coverage, whose fault is it? The blame may lie directly at your own door. Here are five things you need to do to get more exposure for your shop in magazines and newspapers and on television.
1. You need to reach out. If you think journalists are preoccupied, you’re right. They’re always under pressure to meet deadlines and a hundred different things are vying for their attention every day. So if you never attempt to get some of their attention to you, then you have little chance for media coverage. A well-thought-out press release or media pitch, given to the right journalists or editors, will go a long way to keeping you on top of their minds-or at least pretty close to it.
2. You need to be prepared. The “luckiest” people are those who are always prepared enough to grab opportunities when they appear. If you don’t have a media kit and media page to provide information to interested journalists, if you don’t know what’s happening around you that might be relevant to your business, if you take forever to return calls or set up interviews, then you’re out of luck. Always be ready with some of the basic PR tools you need to get free publicity.
3. You need to create your own news. If your business is interesting enough to attract customers, then it’s interesting enough for the media. But, often, you have to package it that way. Regularly mine your business for media-sexy stories and pitch these. Sometimes you have to create your own news. Organize events, participate in fundraisers, conduct a study or partner with more prominent businesses and organizations.
4. You need to connect with the right journalists. If you’re pitching to the wrong reporters and editors, then your story will never get told. Don’t send your media pitch to the business editor, for example, if your services are more suitable for the lifestyle section. Also, don’t send out a template pitch to everyone on your media list. Take the time to personalize and customize each one so you’re addressing what each reporter or editor is most interested in. Know which media outlets and journalists reach your target audience and connect with them. With social media, it’s now easier than ever to get direct access to journalists.
5. You need to be in touch with what’s newsworthy. Any sort of media work is difficult if you don’t have your finger on the pulse of the media. That is, if you don’t know what media are publishing and broadcasting, how will you know what they’re looking for? Consume media and observe which stories get publicity. You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities you can spot this way.
Jennifer Wezensk is the president of JW Public Relations, a Michigan-based boutique PR firm specializing in helping small businesses garner positive media coverage.