Getting coverage in your local press may not have the kudos of being featured in national newspapers but it often delivers a better return on investment, especially to locally-based businesses.
For small businesses, local newspapers are a more realistic target for press coverage than the national press. Readers of local papers want to read about local news, stories and events so if you can help a journalist deliver this, then you are well on the way to getting valuable press coverage for your business.
As a start-up the chances are your marketing budget is smaller than you’d like, so it’s important to get as much out of it as possible.
Although not right for every business startup, PR is a marketing tool that is well worth considering as it builds both awareness and credibility. It can showcase your expertise while delivering third party endorsement from respected journalists and media outlets.
In addition, PR is great for your SEO; having articles authored by you or quoting you filling up the first few pages of Google is just what a start-up business needs.
So how do you do it? We asked, Chantal Cooke, author of PR Demystified; how to get free publicity by giving journalists what they really need, to share her blueprint for DIY PR success;
Your business may offer amazing products and a fantastic service. It may have a clear, determined vision of what it is doing and where it is going. But if your potential customers don’t know it exists, your wonderful business is likely to disappear without trace. As Alan Sugar put it: “Your start-up will be a cock-up if you don’t learn marketing communications”.
But what can a small business do to get themselves noticed?
There are two options: pay lots of money to a marketing company, or do it yourself. The DIY route costs less (if anything at all) and lets you use your unique insight to create the kind of personalised, precision-targeted marketing message that an external marketing consultant could never pull off.
So let’s dip into the marketing communications pic ‘n’ mix to see what methods are at your disposal;
Good publicity can help to propel your small business to another level. Sadly many small businesses don’t make any effort to get any press coverage because they think it’s impossibly difficult to do so.
However, it is really simple to get free publicity for your business. In fact, the reason that many businesses get it wrong is because they try to over-complicate things. Here are the five powerful and unbreakable rules you must follow when trying to get free publicity for your business:
Press releases are a good way of getting some publicity for your brand, but how do you get your press release out there in the first place?
Good public relations are essential for any business, but especially so, for small and start-up businesses. If you can persuade editors to run a story about your business, it’s worth a dozen adverts or mailshots. And there’s also the huge added benefit of it not costing you anything!
However, writing a press release isn’t as simple as dashing off a letter to the editor of your local paper. For it to work, your release needs to be carefully crafted and put together.
Here we look at how you should structure your press releases to grab editors’ attention and maximise your chances of getting that elusive, but highly-prized free press coverage.
When you’re starting or running your own small business, you have an endless list of jobs to do. One of the most crucial is generating interest in your business and creating awareness of your products and services.
Big companies can have a team of people to do this and hire a PR agency but as a small business you will probably need to do all your PR yourself. There’s nothing more demotivating when you’re doing your own PR than spending hours getting the perfect press release put together… only for it to be completely ignored by all the journalists you’ve sent it to.
But don’t take it personally, it’s a very common occurrence. And when you hear that 99% of all press releases sent to the media end up in the bin you realise it happens a lot more often than you think.
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.
At Bytestart, we receive hundreds of press releases every week. Although around 40% are usually relevant to UK small businesses, out of these we probably only end up using 4 or 5 a week in our news articles. Many are not relevant to our business, some are poorly written, and the majority are not newsworthy.
We receive hundreds of press releases each week in the Bytestart email box. Many relate to small business issues, and plenty of others do not.
Out of one hundred press releases received, we typically might use just five. So, why do some releases hit the mark, and others don’t?
These days generating publicity materials is not just about trying to promote your business in the media. It’s also about using those materials to enhance the perception of your business to everyone who has any contact with you.