by Melissa Cassera
Are you resolving to get more publicity for your business in 2009? In today's economy, publicity is an excellent way to spread the word about your business. As a small business owner, you have the chance to secure interviews, profiles, anecdotes and by-line writing opportunities with media outlets as big as New York Times and as small as your local daily.
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2. Don't Ignore the Little Guys
While hometown media may not reach the audience that Oprah does, media coverage in smaller outlets can lead to great things - often you will be splashed on the cover or receive a prominent story with plenty of pictures, helping to build a local buzz about your business. I've also seen these local stories grab the attention of the larger media outlets. Try your local dailies, college alumni publications, trade publications, local radio and TV stations, township newsletters and blogs.
3. Don't Rely on your Press Release
Press releases are often used as 'back up' information to your story - your PITCH is what peaks a reporter's interest. Personalize your correspondence to the person you are pitching. Let them know you are familiar with their work. Don't pitch them something they've already covered. Give them something fresh and newsworthy.
4. Find Media Contacts Online
Having trouble finding media contacts? Make a list of the top media outlets you want to be featured in and start googling. Most websites list a masthead to find editor's names. The Wall Street Journal lists every reporter's email address at the end of the story online. Use Google News - type in keywords for your industry and see who is covering your industry.
5. Create an Online Press Room
Make it easy for reporters to cover your business by creating a press page on your website. Dedicate one page featuring your contact information at the top and have the following items available for download: press releases, biography, company background, product images/description, headshot, sample interview questions, company logo, testimonials, video (if applicable), book excerpts. Post links to current media coverage you've received.
6. Brainstorm Various Angles
You can’t expect to pitch the same angle to Oprah that you would your local news station. Brainstorm angles every day that would be perfect for you to pitch. Think outside of your product or service. Can you comment on business surviving in the economy? Working with family members? Finding unusual ways to fund your business? Think of tie-ins to the economy, holidays, and other hot topics.
7. Think of Yourself as an Expert
Even if you’ve only been in business a short time, you still know more about your industry than some others. Don’t think of publicity as being ‘egotistical’ and don’t feel ‘undeserving.’ Reporters are always looking for stories and quotable experts.
8. Pitch Smart
Successful pitching is all about doing your homework. Study the media outlets you are pitching. What do they cover? Identify the appropriate contact to pitch. Check out what they’ve covered previously. Send a note of introduction before pitching anything to start building a relationship.
I hope these publicity tips will assist you in planning for a successful 2009! If you don't have the time to design and manage a publicity campaign, please contact me at (856) 816-3413 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation and publicity services proposal. I work with clients on a national level, and specialize in working with entrepreneurs, speakers, experts and women-owned businesses. I also offer coaching services for those that want to DIY - with a little guidance.
Melissa Cassera is the owner and operator of Cassera Communications, a publicity and marketing firm. Her firm helps small business entrepreneurs become successful on a local or national level through personal branding. Melissa’s services blend traditional marketing and publicity strategies with ‘new media’ such as blogging, social networking and article marketing. These elements combined with showcasing a client’s talent and charisma help create a winning personal brand. www.casseracommunications.com