Media attention not only gives your business a shot of credibility, it's also free marketing. The operative word is "free."
Oxford Beach's St. Party's Day brand is a great example. Our 2012 campaign reached more than 10 million people, in part through coverage we received in newspapers and on TV. It would have cost us $200,000 to buy that kind of attention in the form of advertising, and we paid PR company Duet Public Relations less than 3% of that amount to help get the word out.
You can view some of our media interviews on our YouTube page.
There are a ton of PR firms that can help you secure media coverage and other forms of exposure, but if you can't afford them, you can do the work yourself. Oxford Beach PR was in-house until two years ago.
Here are a few ways to attract media:
- Get online and research the names of key reporters, editors and producers at the organizations most relevant to your line of work. If you can't find their contact info online, pick up the phone and call.
- Position yourself as an expert. What is your unique skillset, industry or knowledge base? Do you have anything to contribute to stories that are currently in the news? If you buy businesses from owners who don't have succession plans, that's a pretty hot topic right now. Reach out to the contacts you researched and offer to comment.
- Come up with a unique and clever angle. In 2011, Oxford Beach wrote a petition to lobby the government to make St. Party's Day (March 17) a statutory holiday. Media loved the idea.
- Keep your pitches short and sweet. Media, like business owners, are inundated with e-mail, phone calls, and social media. Come up with an attention grabbing subject line, and back it up with one or two sentences at the start of your pitch that make your key point and tell media why their audience will care about it. Wrap everything up in one or two paragraphs and provide contact info you check most regularly.
- Be prepared to talk. You might get asked tough questions. If you're not ready to spill the beans on certain aspects of your business, you're not ready for media exposure.
- Follow up if you don't get a response within 48 hours, but don't be a pest. If the follow-up goes unreturned, move on until you're ready to pitch something new.
- Network. Like everything else, it gets easier. Once you've established yourself as an expert, media will start to approach you for interviews.
My other business, RoyalPak, has some interesting media interviews lined up in the near future. I'll share them as they emerge.