This post has been kindly contributed by Phoebe Netto. Phoebe Netto is the Managing Director of Good Business Consulting (http://goodbusiness.net.au/), a small business advisory.
Have you ever seen or heard your competitors in the media? Has your business ever been in the media in a positive way?
Having positive media coverage of your business is a powerful way of getting people to know about your business and to think and feel about it in a certain way.
Media relations is not about selling your products or services – that is what other sales and marketing tools are for. For a small-to-medium sized business, it usually means identifying the media outlets that are watering holes where many of your ideal customers gather, and being included in those media outlets in a positive way that shows that you are helpful, knowledgeable and accessible.
Being on the front page of the Australian Financial Review is a pointless goal if it is not an influential ‘watering hole’ where your ideal customers congregate and turn to for influential information. However if your ideal client is in the food or hospitality industry, Food Service Australia magazine could be the optimal outlet to not only create awareness of your brand, but to also convey aspects of your business that you cannot always convey through other marketing tools. These include:
o Credibility and trust
o Personality and passion
o Confirmation of what you already market to your audience (for example, media coverage can confirm that you know what you are talking about, that you have an excellent track record or that you can translate IT speak into English).
Think about it: if your business is mentioned in a respected media outlet that is read by your ideal clients, it will have a much greater impact on your reputation than an advertisement would. This is because it is far more credible and interesting to have someone else say good things about your business than to hear it coming from you.
If you could read minds you might catch a reader thinking, “Someone who understands my interests (a respected media outlet) independently sought this person out for their advice, expertise or opinion. They could have chosen someone else in the field but they chose them. “
So how can YOU get in the media?
Most PR agencies will suggest that you use media releases or email out a media kit to countless journalists to generate positive coverage for your business. However, for many small-to-medium sized businesses, this is bad advice. While there are some instances where a media release or a media kit are appropriate, they are not an effective public relations tool for all businesses and all situations, and they should not be your only method of generating media coverage.
There are many other ways of getting in the media that are accessible to the budget of a small-to-medium sized business. These include:
- Bylined articles. Articles providing helpful advice, how-to tips, bold commentary and explanations. Published in targeted media publications such as magazines, they help to raise your profile as a sought-after expert. You are attributed as the author with your name attached. Often your company name, website, a short bio and a photo of you are also included in the author line.
- Opinion pieces. These are written to provide your passionate opinion on a topic relating to your industry. For example, busting myths, exposing money-wasting schemes or causing debate.
- Case studies. If you have some client case studies where a business has used your services resulting in a measurable ROI, you have the opportunity to offer media a case study of your business success story. If put together in the right format with the right information and materials, media love case good studies.
- Participating in scheduled features and interview opportunities. A PR agency with good relationships with key media can pitch you as a spokesperson for interviews, or as a case study to be involved in scheduled feature articles and news pieces.
Important disclaimer: Media relations requires that you give the media ‘newsworthy’ information. If your message is something that you would normally use an advertisement to say (for example, announcing that your business is having a stocktake sale or that you are better than your competitors), then this is not newsworthy. Media coverage is not free advertising.
Phoebe Netto is the Managing Director of Good Business Consulting ( http://goodbusiness.net.au/), a small business advisory.
She has a background in public relations and marketing, and takes these skills that are often reserved for big businesses with big budgets, and uses them to help small businesses grow and meet their objectives. Phoebe is passionate about helping good small businesses grow through retaining their customers and attracting new ones.