While traditional press releases are still the standard way to communicate timely news to the press, there are a number of new creative ways to bring attention to your business. Work a couple of these techniques into your routine and you will soon attract the media coverage you’re looking for.
1. Write a letter to the editor: People typically skim the letters to the editor in their favorite publications to see what other people are saying. You can utilize this to help promote you and your business. To do so, read the publication regularly. When an article runs that is in your realm of expertise, write a letter to support your point on the topic. You want to keep the letter focused on the topic at hand and not include a sales pitch. However, as you sign the letter, include your name and then your company website. This will put your company name in front of the reader and provide a means for them to get in touch with you if they have a need.
Try to do this once a month, alternating the publications you write to. Depending on how many submissions they receive, your letter will eventually run in the publication. If the editors pick your letters to run more often, you gain greater exposure in front of your target market. You become known as an expert on the topic and you begin to gain name recognition.
2. Blog: News people are continually looking for good stories and they will follow bloggers who post on topics related to their interest. If you run a blog, post to it regularly with newsworthy information. Make sure your contact information is included on your blog so that if they’d like to get a quote from you on a story they are writing you can be easily reached.
3. Tweet: Twitter is used by many media writers to keep up on current news releases. Develop a twitter campaign where you post newsworthy content at least once a day. The primary source of your content should be information written by you. The goal is to get them to view you as the expert. Once you’ve tweeted regularly for a month, search out media contacts using twitter and follow them. A number of the media contacts will end up following you back. Engage with them – retweet their posts, comment on their updates, direct message them when you can provide valuable information to them. Using twitter is about building relationships so don’t push too hard with the sales.
4. Help a Reporter Out (HARO): Reporters submit their requests for source contacts to this organization, which then publishes the need to an enormous list of followers. So, say for example, that you are a mechanic and there is a recall announcement on a certain vehicle. The reporter who’s doing a story on the recall may be looking for a mechanic who’s had experience in fixing the recall problem. If you’re following HARO, you’ll see when the reporter asks for help and you can then provide your expertise to them. There is no cost to sign up as a source at HARO. You can find out more about the organization at www.helpareporter.com or @helpareporter on Twitter.
5. Online media room: Your website should be a source for reporters to easily get information about you. Develop a spot on your website to include the following information:
- Biographies of the key people at your company
- An archive of press releases done by your company
- A fact sheet about your company that details key dates in history, partnerships, and mergers.
- Color headshot images of your key people
- Background information on your area of expertise that a person could use in an article.
- A list of story ideas for which you and your company would be a good source
If you find that you don’t have the time to develop a PR campaign around these ideas, it’s time to enlist the help of a virtual assistant (VA). A qualified VA can scan publications for articles that you could comment on in a letter to the editor, set up and maintain your blog, build your profile and tweet on Twitter, monitor the requests that come through HARO, and build your online media room. The investment you make in developing this PR strategy will pay off if done consistently.
Photo by iqoncept