While strategic PR campaigns were once reserved for the business “elite”-those who could afford to spend one to three thousand dollars a month to retain a PR firm-these days, it is not is not uncommon for even the smallest of shops to whip out press releases in an effort to build buzz.
The truth is, no matter what size your company or what industry you’re in, getting your message in the media should be a major part of your business development efforts. Having a consistent media presence helps companies build credibility and get more business. Thanks to constantly changing media landscape, this is becoming easier and easier to do.
Have you thought about how to use the media to leverage your message in for 2008? If not here are the top 5 things you can do jump start your company’s publicity efforts this year:
1.) Do a media plan.
Planning is the key to media success. Take some time and think about what newspapers, magazines, news shows you would like to appear on this year. How about Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, the Today Show or your local newspaper? Once you’ve identified a few media outlets, decide which topic you want to discuss. Then find out which producer or reporter you should send a pitch letter or press release to. Don’t wait for the media to find you, take your story to them.
2.) Position yourself as an expert.
If you have a wealth of experience in your industry or you know things that other don’t, don’t be afraid to call yourself an expert. What are your strengths? Are you a relationship guru, a financial advisor or women’s empowerment advocate? Find your niche, bring new and unique information to the market and you can begin to attach the expert title to your name. When journalists and producers see the word “expert,” your chances of getting featured increase dramatically.
3.) Write a “How-to” article.
Take your expertise and put it in a step-by-step format that will allow readers to easily apply the strategies you recommend. If you’re a relationship coach, write an article on “how to avoid arguing with your mate.” Or, if you’re a fitness trainer, your article could focus on “how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays.” Submit your article to websites, magazines and discussion groups and you’ll be surprised how many people you help and how much publicity could result from it. This strategy also helps you position yourself as an expert.
4.) Write a letter to the editor.
If you see an article in the newspaper that you strongly agree with or object to, use that as an opportunity to write a letter to the editor. Recently I wrote a letter to the editors of all the major newspapers here in Chicago on behalf of a client who works in the healthcare industry. He expressed his regret that so many cuts were being made, despite the fact that healthcare needs are at an all time high. Two major papers called to inquire about the letter and one paper actually ran it, along with the client’s name, title and organization. If your letter gets printed with your name and company info, that’s free publicity!
5.) Do something good in the hood.
When a company or community organization hosts an event that helps other people, an opportunity for free publicity is automatically created. Do you have a scholarship program, awareness raising initiative or food give-away? Find a unique way to tie it in with a major holiday, anniversary or commemoration and you could wind up featured in your local paper or on the news.