When you’re a small business, positive word-of-mouth is critical to growth. One of the best ways to get that buzz going is through publicity. But how do you compete with the big guys, and get publicity? Here are the only three steps you need to get great publicity FREE:
Step 1: Have A Great Product, Service or Business
Most small businesses think that what they sell is great.
The Key: To get publicity, you need to provide what the media thinks is great.
Here are some examples of what makes products interesting to the media:
- A truly new product (just launched in the last few months or about to be launched)
- Unique, breakthrough product
- Works well, tastes great, etc. (In most cases the media will test out your product if they are interested in featuring it in a story)
- Colorful packaging / visually appealing – especially important for visual media
- Product ties into trends – organic/green, political, etc.
- Priced right – less than key price points ($100, $50, $25, $10) or priced high if truly a luxury item
Here are some examples of what makes services and businesses interesting to the media:
- New service, company or book (just launched in the last few months or about to be launched)
- Unique, breakthrough service, concept or business
- Provides ways to save money
- Offers something for free
- High rate of revenue and employee growth
- Ties into trends
Step 2: Approach The Right Media Contact With A Great Pitch
You should only approach media that cover your type of product or business. This means that you’ll need to read, listen to or view these media outlets prior to pitching them.
Once you determine that your business or product is a good fit for their editorial coverage, you need to find the right contact. You can do this in several ways:
- Call up the media outlet and ask who the person is who covers your area
- Look at the print masthead or producer credits
- Search online
- Buy a list – you can find these online
Then you need to pitch the contact. Include why your product or service is a great fit for that media outlet, as well as a product or service description. Don’t forget to include your contact information.
You can pitch via phone or email. Here, you can see a sample pitch for a product or service business.
Step 3: Follow Up
This is the part that trips up most do-it-yourself publicists and even P.R. folks. Once the media has expressed interest in your product or service, you must be persistent in contacting them.
Often you’ll need to follow-up with them several times, via the phone or email, until you have gotten media coverage.
By following these steps, your chances of getting publicity are greatly increased. And once you get publicity, you’ll see more buzz, more sales and more credibility for your business.
A great book on getting people to talk about your business is called Conversational Capital. Give it a try.
Agreed. As someone who used to work in a marketing and publicity firm, it’s amazing how people try to make news out of nothing. Sometimes their items just aren’t news worthy. Wait until the great news comes around, pitch it to the right person, and follow up to make sure you get the coverage you deserve when you deserve it. Wonderful post.
Free publicity may not be easy to get, but it is worth the effort. Even if your product isn’t new and revolutionary, that doesn’t mean you can’t try some new packaging to get interest. See if your customers are using your product in unexpected ways.
These are really important tips. I especially resonate with the ideas of ensuring newsworthiness and targeted media contacts. We’ve learned that a new release of our time clock software isn’t exciting. However, the new features in a software release that help businesses solve current relevant problems is something the media wants to cover. A small change in perspective has resulted in a huge increase in free publicity!
Interesting approach Margie, thanks for sharing it!
I would mention:
Once in a while, surprise your customers and leads with a new product/service/offer.
Persevere: always be there, answer and comment on time.
Care: help your customers and leads.
Give away something interesting!
Great post with good incite for a new business owners!
Great tips Margie! I think the third tip about following up is critical and like you said, “Often you’ll need to follow-up with them several times, via the phone or email, until you have gotten media coverage.” Sadly, skipping this step is why so many don’t succeed…
I love step #1!
While this may seem obvious many businesses miss fail to come to terms with this critical point.
I recently wrote an article on how the best brands tend to grow organically out of great companies, products and/or services:
Excellent tips you have here Margie! I will be referring to these when I think the time is right to increase publicity of my website =)
I especially like your first key point, there are a lot of ideas in there that I am very eager to use.
Thanks for the post!
Some great advice… Press releases are a great free source of new customers for small businesses, and I have used this strategy quite often.
Another great way to get brand recognition is via social media sites like Twitter & Facebook. Check out the full article at http://rhinostu.com/socialmedia
We totally agree. It’s hard to have free publicity. We own an independent and international weblog about OLED and AMOLED technology. We do receive many articles, but most of them are not news items.
Thank you for your very helpful tips. The public doesn’t know about public adjusters. We need PUBLICITY!!