A Crash Course in Promoting Your Business Through the Media
The media has a powerful influence on public opinion. When you understand the mission of a news publication or broadcast forum, you get an idea of what its reporters consider newsworthy and when there is opportunity to tell your story.
Understanding the various Media Outlets
1. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) – these are 10, 15, 20, 30 or 60-second TV or radio spots that are non-commercial in nature. They are usually reserved to announce an event or publicize an issue or cause and are almost always reserved for a non-profit organization, a radio or TV station. However, PSAs are not only for non-profits. Healthcare organizations, for example, frequently produce PSAs on health-related issues (i.e. “check your blood pressure,” or “eat healthy foods,” etc.) per free health fairs.
2. Radio, TV and print community billboards or events calendars will often publicize free events or fund-raisers for non-profit groups. Put your request in writing to the local calendar listing editor.
3. Local talk shows, on radio and television, are wonderful outlets for business news, trend stories and charitable events announcements. Do you have something unique, new, rare, colorful, trendy or of interest to their viewing audience. It is important to understand the show and its viewers before contacting the producer so you can describe how your story will interest the viewing audience.
4.Local programming on cable is an important component in strategizing for media coverage.
5.There are business magazines, city magazines and consumer magazines in almost every market across the country. Again, know your audience and understand their mission, objectives and format.
6.Trade publications are an important media outlet. In many cases, it is easy to cultivate a relationship with writers and editors of these publications since you both speak the same language and they are naturally interested in your industry to start with.
7. National, business or consumer publications are effective but challenging, mainly because of the competition. Read the publication and prepare an interesting, provocative pitch. It takes time and footwork to get a national editor interested in what you have to say. Don’t be sensitive to rejection.
8. Feature stories for print and electronic media are a good possibility when it comes to promoting a business, interest or cause. Human-interest stories that inspire an audience or stories about business people who are good role models make good pitches. Trend stories (about everything from outpatient surgery to fast-food) are a common staple of news coverage. If you are a knowledgeable source for information you can increase your chances of being quoted in a feature story or becoming a dependable source for future stories.
9. Of course, local news can be the most important media source to connect with for most businesses. When you call or email a news director, be prepared with details about “who, what, when, where and why.”
10.Finally, the Internet provides opportunities for many companies and organizations to reach out to their target audiences. Today a multitude of resources can assist you in delivering your message online including blogs, message boards and forums, podcasts and e-newsletters. The Internet is a great place to connect with very specific audiences in your neighborhood or around the globe.