LANTERN IN THE NEWS
Want To Get Your Business Noticed By The News Media?
What's the secret of how to attract news media attention to your business? The secret is that there is no secret - just a lot of planning and research, and then executing what you've learned.
There are hundreds or probably thousands of ways for you to get the attention of the media, and probably to attract new customers or clients as a result. An excellent way to grow your business is for people to read about your company in the press or on the Internet, view a televised segment, or to hear a radio report about something your business is doing.
And there's a relatively new giant in the marketing arena - social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Hotlist, and many, many more. The Internet can be a gold mine.
Getting noticed by the news media and participating on the Internet's social sites can be vital to an effective marketing strategy. Members of the media - the press, radio, TV, and Internet bloggers - constantly look for news to report. Throw them some bait; write (or have someone write) a clever, hard-hitting, honest, and accurate description of your operation, especially your strong points and anything you may do differently. Events sponsored by your company may be newsworthy. The best way to find out is to issue news releases about your events. You, or one of your employees, also may be worthy of a personality profile. Again, toss out some bait: write a description of yourself or the employee and send out a press release.
One caveat: There are two types of publicity - good, and bad. But before we get into the types of publicity, and how you can avoid bad publicity, let's look at a just a few of the things you can do to get noticed by the media:
- Write brief, factual news releases. You may have a staff member who is capable of doing this. If not, get one of your employees trained in the art of writing news releases or hire a public relations firm with a proven record of preparing effective news releases. Good news releases can open the doors to media newsrooms for your business.
- Get actively involved with the Internet's social media networks. You can reach people throughout the world by using these sites. Reporters frequently use these media sites; if you see a reporter's name who wrote an article that you read and liked, email him or her about it. Assign an employee to patrol Internet social sites.
- Search for smaller publications - such as business and trade journals, neighborhood newspapers, free flyers, etc. - because these generally are more approachable and easier to deal with. They usually have only two or three employees and, as a result, more often than not welcome story ideas. Tell them yours!
- Get actively involved in your community. Attend city council, county commission, and all other governmental agency meetings that seem feasible, and do volunteer work in your community. If you have a customer who is unusual or has a unique background, write a press release about him or her and reveal what makes this person special. If your idea is accepted by someone in the media, your business will share the spotlight.
- Google "how does a business get media attention" and you will be amazed at the number of ideas and suggestions that will pop up.
Now, let's talk about how you can avoid bad publicity. After you have tossed out your bait and gotten a bite, you must be prepared to reel 'em in. Be like a Boy Scout - be prepared. Know the subject matter backward and forward. Be ready to answer any and all questions a reporter may throw at you. Don't ever say, "No comment." If you can't answer a question, say so - and say why. Be economical, be candid and, most of all, be honest.
You can't wait until the last minute to get ready. You must be ready when your bait is tossed out. An email can be answered in a matter of minutes. And a phone call response can be immediate. If a member of the media wants to see you "right now," agree. Stop whatever you are doing and respond immediately. Even if you are away from the office, even on vacation, agree to a telephone or email interview. You may be glad you did.
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