We take for granted the amount of work required to build a customer base and all too often small businesses start up with the expectation that just having a physical location on a busy street will mean success. The fact is that you need to take the steps to aggressively pursue customers! Do not fall into the trap of being complacent and expecting them to know you are in business and walk in your door.
The second your doors open, you may get flooded with customers and your attention may shift to operating the company and marketing takes a back seat because you thought your job was done. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Over the next six months you watch the revenues declined and customer frequency and attendance slow. You thought you were doing a great job running a businesses until you quickly realized that there was no marketing being done to bring in new customers.
You get complacent with the marketing and assumed that everyone else in the world would just hear about you through word of mouth. Wrong again. Marketing needed to be done consistently. If it was not, there can be noticeable dips in dollars. Small businesses never want dips in dollars, but they do happen for a variety of reasons. Let’s make sure those dips are not the result of a lack of marketing. Let’s talk PR.
Would you like to spend $375 for a quarter page newspaper ad in your local paper, or come up with a creative idea for a story that lands you front page and doesn’t cost a cent? Which do you think will give you the most exposure?
Public Relations (PR) is one of the best tools to gain the lime light exposure for your business. Our clients have been on the cover of over a dozen newspapers and stories inside tons of magazines, websites and papers. We create news worthy stories or events to send out as a press release to the print &online media world. These newspapers and magazines need stories, information and content that are sellable and creative thinking and persistence can lead your business into the spot light.
All sources of media love to provide coverage on events happening throughout our communities. You should understand how and when to approach media personnel with ideas for coverage. It would not be wise to call a newspaper after the Super Bowl or a Natural Disaster because of the media focus on that universal event.
Create a list of editors (their names, email, phone, address) and do not feel like you can’t do this–you can. Local papers like to help local businesses. Editors are not unapproachable tyrants, they are business people with the mission of selling print material and creating online exposure in a competitive world…respect their time. If you feel that your story can help them with their mission and is presented as such, then you will gain an attentive ear. Pick one local media source to send an idea to and not shop it around to more than one because of exclusivity! Understand that papers and magazines compete with each other and in order to build a relationship you need to respect that and only offer one story to one source. Exclusivity is a big deal and should be dealt with with respect.
If the media source is not interested in your story or are dragging their feet, simply say: “Mrs. Editor I wanted to give you the exclusive story, but if you are not interested in running it, are you okay with me taking this to another paper or magazine?” That will get things moving, god forbid another paper gets the story. Here are some tips for getting started with your media campaign:
- Identify all the media sources you want to work with that best reach your potential customer.
- Create a database of media contacts (editors, etc) and communication time lines for mapping out your company’s output.
- Contact data for the editors can be found in the first few pages of the newspaper or magazine and onine
- Remember to always start with the editor.
- Before you pitch the idea, make sure that you are well prepared to support your idea with “what is in it for them” and determine the best way to deliver it.
- Determine how often you are going to pitch ideas to them.
- Try to establish a long term relationship and become the expert in your field as the go to person for questioning.
- Follow up after events or postings to get the feedback from the media source. This will show that you care about their business and they will remember that jester.
There are different levels of commitment to getting good PR and those levels correspond to the level of exposure and status of the media source being sought after. Local, regional, national and international media sources all need to be approached differently and require different strategies. Plan accordingly and best of luck. Email us if you would like The Octopus Solution to handle your PR needs.