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Don’t Miss these Press Opportunities for Your Small Business!

PressOpportunities

How are you spreading the word about your business? You’re probably already using a variety of marketing tools and strategies. Having a great website, up-to-date social media channels and a professional brochure can all help you reach your target market. However, if you’re like many business owners, you may not be leveraging the media to increase your business’ exposure.

With one single mention in a national publication or a feature on the local evening news, thousands of potential customers can learn about your business. And, this can often have a profoundly positive effect on your bottom line, especially when it’s combined with a well-crafted marketing campaign.

DIY Public Relations
Business owners commonly believe that they need to hire an expensive public relations firm to have any chance of getting noticed by reporters, journalists or editors. Yet, the reality is that news professionals are always looking for something new and fresh to share with their audiences. A strong public relations specialist can definitely help you connect with the media, but media relations is something you can do, too!

The key is being able to scope out press opportunities when they happen and act on them swiftly. Timing is everything when it comes to the media. The difference between making it into a national story or not often boils down to who contacts the reporter first.

So, how can you find press opportunities when you’re not in the business of public relations? Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

HARO
Help a Reporter Out, or HARO for short, is a free service that provides a multitude of press opportunities on a daily basis. Founded in 2008 by author and speaker Peter Shankman, HARO facilitates connections between journalists and individuals who have expertise or experience with specific topics or issues. Monday through Friday, HARO connects reporters, editors, bloggers, producers and authors with credible news sources such as business owners.

Even top public relations pros follow HARO because it is such a valuable tool. To get started, you will need to sign up for a HARO account, and then you will be emailed a list of queries several times each day. Savvy business owners check out the emailed lists daily to make connections with news professionals with the goal of potentially being mentioned or featured in news stories, articles or books.

As you familiarize yourself with HARO, you’ll find individuals from top national, local and industry media using the service to find sources. For a small business owner, this is often the best chance to be discovered by a top media outlet.

SourceBottle
Another free source for finding journalists and bloggers is SourceBottle.com. Similar to HARO, SourceBottle has searchable online queries that are organized in a directory. While not as widely used as HARO, it’s worth signing up for an account which will enable you to receive publicity opportunities mailed to you, as well as access to the online directory.

Make Your Own Connections
While HARO and SourceBottle can help connect you with the media, you can also do this yourself. And, it’s easier than you think. You will want to start with creating a list of all of the media outlets that are targeted to your potential customers. This can be everything from industry blogs and consumer publications like the Wall Street Journal to local news and national talk shows.

Once you have your list, it’s time to do some sleuthing. First, go to each media outlet’s website and search for information on how to contact their news desk. In some cases, you’ll see a link that enables you to “submit a pitch.” There may also be a roster of reporters and editors, along with their contact details.

Once you have your media contact list, it’s time to start making connections. Before you call or email anyone, keep in mind that most of these individuals are consistently on tight deadlines to churn out content. They will often not have time to chat with you about your business. This is why it’s important to only contact them with a specific pitch and to keep it as brief as possible.

What Should You Pitch?
Reporters and others in the media are sent countless pitches from businesses each and every day. Most of these get circular filed because they are not relevant or interesting enough to pursue. The key to getting noticed is to create a unique pitch that sets your business apart from the others.

A few pitch ideas that may garner attention:

  • A new product launch
  • A unique, breakthrough service or concept
  • A way to save money
  • Something that you’re giving away for free
  • An announcement of a high rate of growth or the need to hire employees
  • A connection to an on-point trend or current event
  • An interesting personal story connected with your business

How Do You Pitch or Submit a Response to a Query?
First and foremost, keep your pitch or response to a query short and to-the-point. Provide all of the information that the media contact will need, including images if they help explain or promote what you’re sharing. Remember – these individuals are busy, timeline-driven professionals who don’t want to take the time to search for additional information about you or your business. Make sure that you meet any requirements and deadlines for submitting pitches and provide your website and contact information if they choose to follow up with you.

Follow Up
Even some of the most experienced public relations professionals forget to follow up, and this can kill any chance of getting exposure for your business. If you have received any interest from the media regarding your product or service, you must be quick to contact them back. You may even have to follow up more than once via phone and email. By being persistent, you’ll greatly up your odds of getting the media coverage you’re hoping for.

Share Your Coverage
By staying on top of media opportunities, you will eventually achieve success. When you have a story that has gone “live,” it doesn’t mean your work is over. This is the time to give your exposure an extra boost with an announcement on your business’ social media channels. Do you have an email list of customers, prospects and vendors? Send them an update and ask them to share your news, too!

Winning a few notable mentions in the press can be one of the most effective ways to build your brand, attract new customers, and create a loyal group of followers. By using these tips and putting in the time and effort, you will achieve results.

Have you been able to score a great media mention that helped your business grow? Share your story in the comment section below.

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Kabbage Team

The Kabbage Team is here to not only fund the small business loans you need, but to help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.

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