When's the last time your business was featured in a newspaper or magazine? If your answer falls somewhere along the lines of "never," don't think it can't be done. With the right media plan and a little persistence, even you can land on the pages of your favorite industry journal or trade publication.
Dick Grove, CEO of Ink Inc., a media relations firm in Kansas City, Missouri, recommends these steps:
1. Study the publications. Find out who writes what. "Figure out a way to adapt your story to their needs-not the other way around," Grove says. And forget generic press releases, which just end up in the recycle bin. A pitch tailored to a specific writer's beat will likely get you noticed.
2. Offer yourself as an expert on industry trends or relevant news items. But be careful. "Strip your pitch of anything self-serving-get rid of anything that looks like sales, advertising or puffery," cautions Grove. After all, journalists will see right through it. (Trust us.)
3. Pitch an op-ed piece. Write letters to the editor or pitch a signed opinion piece. "Keep it broad and centered on an issue," advises Grove. "It gives you more credibility and reduces the chance of rejection."
You've seen those nifty LCD monitors in grocery stores, elevators and other public places. Programmed to run news, advertisements, recipes and more, they're a great way to get consumers' attention. But is video screen marketing for you?
"With 80 percent of purchase decisions being made at the point-of-purchase, video monitors have the potential to be profitable for [marketers]," says Greg Kahn, CEO of Kahn Research Group, a behavioral research company in Huntersville, North Carolina. He notes they probably work best on captive audiences (in elevators, for instance)-after all, where else will people look?
But some experts, like Rob Frankel, author of The Revenge of Brand X (Frankel & Anderson), insist they're just a fad. "[The messages] will just blend into the landscape," he predicts. James Maskulka, associate marketing professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, believes entrepreneurs targeting local areas can afford to use the technology. Though it is a relatively new technique, Maskulka has seen it work for restaurants and car dealerships in his community. A screen in a restaurant, for instance, would be priced based on foot traffic-making it less expensive than TV advertising.
Check out providers such as Captivate Network (www.captivatenetwork.com), Next Generation Network (www.ngn.com) and Premier Retail Networks (www.prn.com) for more details. Prices start at $50,000 (or $8 to $15 CPM) for a yearlong campaign, but may cost more depending on region and venues.