Being mentioned in news is every entrepreneur's dream but not many of us can afford huge PR budgets.
For everyone who is managing public relationships in-house, here are a few tips on making your business more newsworthy.
1. Be timely
The key to getting featured in the news is reacting quickly to trends. When Google introduced "Search within search" functionality, my blog contributor @Rishil was one of the first to cover the news. We woke up the next day to a some neat NY times coverage. There's no secret sauce except that Rishil's article was very opinionated and timely.
Here are some ways to follow trends in a timely and effectively manner:
- Monitor those weird holidays. There are national Honesty Day, national "Eat What You Want" Day and lots of other holidays you can use to brainstorm a newsworthy initiative.
- Track trending hashtags. Both Twitter and Google Plus have them. Hashtagify is also tracking fast-rising hashtags.
- Keep an eye on niche and local events and their official hashtags to brainstorm if they are a newsworthy opportunity. There's always a lot of press around events: It's a good idea to try to get featured together with them.
- Monitor new laws to provide your own coverage on what that means to your industry.
2. Start a blog (especially if you are a local business)
One of the best ways to increase brand exposure is to blog. If the content has original perspective, and provides quality information, there is the possibility to get noticed by journalists, especially if you are into local marketing. Here is a great case study shared by Anita Clark on how blogging helped her get featured in the local news (WMAZ):
They were doing a weekly segment on "Where you live" and noticed that I was providing a lot of community information and events on my Warner Robins Real Estate blog. They called, and I went in for a quick on-the-air interview. The results were increased local awareness of both my blog and YouTube channel that led to several leads and a couple of real estate closings.
3. Help or set up a charity event
Charity is one way small businesses can leverage small budgets to gain awareness. It's about finding something that resonates with people, like this example shared by Brighton Cormac:
His sister, who owns a baking business called Bakealicious, works in a small country area, that has recently suffered a spate of suicides. Essentially, she works with a number of other like-minded individuals who sell artisan foods and have all pulled together to organize a "Vintage Tea Party" to aid of a charity, Pieta House, and also to raise awareness. The unintended result was press coverage from a number of the local papers.
Pete Kontakos shares another personal example: When I ran a restaurant up in Knoxville, I allowed a local charity to hold a car wash in part of our parking lot during a time we were usually slow. This not only brought more people into our lot (who would come in while waiting) but prior to the event the charity let their contacts know about the event which then got published.
Needless to say, using charity and giving for the sake of merely brand building is a cynical ploy, but obviously if the initial intention is to help, good press is a nice bonus.
4. Share your news
If you want someone to discover your news, you actually need to go out and share it with important people. Here's an interesting case study on how pitching the press after the event may work even better than inviting them to visit the event.
Before pitching your news, make sure you go through these survey results carefully. One of my most interesting takeaways: Reporters and publishers prefer brief, to-the-point emails. Only 12 percent of writers want an in-depth explanation of greater than 300 words.
Another interesting point is that 64 percent of writers think it is of some importance that you establish a personal connection before pitching. This is where I'd recommend reading this guide on building your PR relationships through social media.
Getting news coverage is possible and it works great for your brand awareness. It's about just a few little tricks that you need to include into your marketing plan that will eventually help your business become newsworthy.