Everyone has a story to tell. Whether you have a small business or you’re trying to get your name out there, there are several steps you can take to make sure you get the media attention you’re searching for. “You don’t need a big budget, all you need is to create word of mouth and social proof. You can do this by media outreach,” says Janice McKay, founder of Heart PR, a Public Relations firm based in New Zealand.
McKay helps entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses get press coverage and influencer endorsements. She also teaches them the strategy so they can learn to do it themselves. Here are her tips on how to get noticed by the media.
1. Figure out what kind of story you want to share. “Many small businesses don’t think they have anything newsworthy. I disagree,” says McKay. Consider interviewing key team members about an inspiring personal journey. You might want to create a charity drive or take a stand with an important cause. Share a story of how your brand is changing lives or disrupting industries.
2. Connect with writers or broadcasters you admire. Build a relationship with people you would like to work with. News outlets are always looking for stories to educate, inspire or entertain their readers. When reaching out to these outlets, McKay keeps in mind the following news values: Impact, Timeliness, Prominence, Proximity, How Bizzare, Conflict, Currency and Human Interest. “Consider these values as your budget, your gold,” she says.
3. Hone in on what value you have to offer. Know your brand and the platforms you use. If you are selling beauty products online, gear your PR efforts toward vloggers, bloggers and Instagram. “Think about value exchange, partnerships, collaborations & win-win scenarios,” she says. Also, call your local news station and business publications to get the right person to talk to for the story.
4. Keep a schedule. Set up a plan for the next six months to a year. Start off by reaching out to both small and large media outlets with a media release as an introduction. “I start following up with fresh new angles and exclusive story pitches to chosen outlets over the next few weeks or months,” McKay says. Make sure you have your marketing materials in order. Does your website look polished? Do your social channels have fresh content and keep professional photos ready to go.
5. Don’t get distracted by a bad review. Take reviews seriously and use them as good learning opportunities. “If it’s a negative review with a shred of truth it could potentially pick up steam. Acknowledge the review without delay and analyze why it happened,” McKay tells HER Magazine. Respond to the review by communicating what type of action you will take in response. Sometimes this may mean apologizing. If it’s newsworthy, you can also follow up with results of the action you took.
Have you used any of these PR techniques? Let us know what works for you in the comments below.