Start-ups and established businesses can work with the media to gain exposure for their business and generate sales…and the best part is, it’s FREE. The only thing you must invest is your time and heck, you might learn something along the way.
As a small business owner you’re careful with how you spend your money especially when it comes to marketing. Getting the best bang for your marketing buck is always on your mind, or should be. Print ads are expensive and placing an ad on television or the radio is most likely out of the question. So why not try writing a media release? A good story can give your business the exposure you need to let the community know how amazing your product or services are. In fact, a good release can gain attention worldwide. Who knows how far it can take you?
By definition a media release is an official announcement or account of a news item circulated to the media. The most important aspect of writing a release is that it must be “newsworthy.” Journalists aren’t in the business of printing an ad for you. They want to tell a story. When you’re writing a release, think about what makes you, your business or what you’ve done interesting to readers.
There are many websites, books and tips available to help you write your release. It may take a long time and several drafts for you to prepare your first release but this “sweat equity” can pay off, big time. A media release generally follows a cookie cutter format so once you’ve done one it will be easier to write the next one. You may be disappointed if the first release doesn’t get picked up by the media. If at first you don’t succeed try again! You may also consider contacting a local public relations firm to assist with writing your first release. A PR firm may also provide tips on how to handle questions from a reporter so you and your business receive the best story possible. An online marketing company can help you to include key words in your release for search engine optimization.
You can write a media release and send it to local papers and journalists but here’s the really cool thing about 2011. You can also post it on your website, company Facebook or Linked In and then tweet about it. David Meerman Scott’s “The New Rules of PR: How to create a press release strategy for reaching buyers directly” (free ebook) will give you a good understanding how and why releases and social media work.
Writing an article is another “free” option to include in your marketing plan. A well written article can give creditability to your business. Be creative and write about topics that you are an expert on. A chef may write about nutrition, a cleaning company may give cleaning tips and recipes for green cleaning solutions, a hairdresser may give styling tips, etc. Think of creative venues to send your article including trade magazines, newspapers, websites, your blog, etc. For more tips, visit Canada Business’ Public Relations and Media Relations page and Ten PR tips for small businesses on a budget.
Don’t let the fact that you’re not a writer stop you. You will be writing about what you know. Once you get going, you will probably surprise yourself. If you need direction to resources or someone to send an idea to, please give us a call. We’re here to help!
Have you had success growing your business through media relations? Share your story. Once a month we’ll enter all entries into a draw for a chance to win a voucher for one of our upcoming seminars (value $20.)