How start-ups can win the eyes and ears of the local media

If you’ve just started your own business, you might be making the mistake of overestimating the scope of publicity you wish to achieve.

Chances are, if you haven’t got a unique business idea that’s going to revolutionise the world, then you’re probably wasting valuable time dealing with national media outlets, especially when you can reap the rewards and credibility of local media instead.

Although it might seem like you are downplaying opportunities when targeting your local area, what needs to be remembered is you are only competing for coverage with other local businesses which ultimately presents a far greater chance of your story succeeding.

Another advantage to consider is that many of the local media companies, such as newspapers, are actually owned by larger national companies, so more often than not smaller local stories are picked up by the bigger outlets if they attract enough local attention.

The team at Pressat have created a useful list of tips and ideas on how to gain local media coverage for you start-up business:

1. Build a relationship with journalists in your area

Building a friendly relationship with the key and influential journalists in your business sector and local area is key to gaining publicity, whether it’s your local advertiser or the monthly council magazine.

It’s also a good idea to introduce yourself to the local journalists and offer your services such as providing expert comment, interviews and quotes, all of which are excellent ways of getting your name and businesses in front of the people who can make things happen.

You should aim to keep the journalists in your business sector updated with newsworthy press releases, not only to keep them in the loop and show them you are eager, but also to help remind them about your services. However, make sure the content you send them is of a high standard otherwise you may find your email being added to the spam list!

2. Network with other business owners and media

Any kind of event in your local area can provide you with the opportunity to meet other business owners and have a good old chat. Quite often, many high profile media folk attend these events, including local chambers of commerce. Network like a boss and get yourself active in your area.

Try to keep in contact with the people you meet at the events, exchange business cards, and follow people on Twitter. Not only does this help build up potential clients and contacts but also helps to build your reputation.

3. Claim your social profiles and brand them

I often hear people saying “Why do I need Twitter?”. In short, my answer normally is…you don’t!

However, most businesses could benefit from a social media presence, just on the off chance that someone who doesn’t know you personally wants to get in contact.

It also gives you the opportunity to create a business profile and mark your ground giving you a means to follow journalists in your area and interact with them.

You will often come across journalists tweeting for information, products, quotes and opinions for their next big story – all potential stories for your business to capitalise on.

If you are not on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ the first thing you should do after reading this article is to claim your business profile on these influential social platforms.

4. Get your business involved in fundraising events

Getting your business involved with local charity and sponsor events not only helps towards a good cause but can also be a great way to show your business is active and passionate about helping others. Such events are almost always picked up by local journalists.

There is nothing more rewarding than contributing your time for a good cause, and it is also a great way to meet people from your community and network.

5. Build a list

Digging around for media contacts 10 minutes before you send out a press release is going to cause all sorts of problems, not to mention lead to a highly ineffective response.

Sending out such content is very important and should be planned, checked and rechecked by multiple people to make sure nothing goes wrong. It’s never a good feeling when you realise you didn’t BCC in all the media contacts, so don’t put yourself in that position!

We think it’s vital to do your homework before sending out a press release, so make sure you research thoroughly and build a master list of all the key journalists and reporters in your area.

The list should include names, email addresses and contact numbers, so when you are finally ready to send out your story, all the right people in the right places are going to receive a copy at the right time.

More help on spreading the word about your small business

ByteStart is packed with help and advice on all aspects of promoting your business. Try these guides for starters;

And these will help you make the most out of generating customers through social media,

Bytestart Limited

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