How to get press coverage for your small business

Being featured in newspapers, magazines and on radio and TV can be a great boost to your business. Editorial coverage increases awareness of your brand and the endorsement from the editor by nature of the fact they’ve written about you raises credibility.

Here’s some tips on how to get press coverage for your business without needing to engage a professional PR.

[list_circle color=”#26a29a” font_size=”11pt”][list_item]Determine your media[/list_item][/list_circle]

Identify where you want to get press coverage. Who are you trying to reach and what do they read, watch and listen to?

[list_circle color=”#26a29a” font_size=”11pt”][list_item]Identify the journalists[/list_item][/list_circle]

Find out who the key journalists are and obtain their contact details. You can find this information in a variety of ways:

  • Look through your key publications and see who’s written articles that are relevant to your area.
  • Search online for their details. You’ll usually be able to find an email address for the sales reps online and from this can work out other email addresses by following the same format.
  • Telephone the switchboard and ask.
  • Search on Twitter. Most journalists regularly hang out on Twitter (see this blog post on how to engage with journalists on Twitter).

[list_circle color=”#26a29a” font_size=”11pt”][list_item]Find out the lead times[/list_item][/list_circle]

Find out what the lead times (the period of time between the article being commissioned and it being published or broadcast). Consumer and trade magazines can work up to six months ahead. Newspapers, TV and radio generally work to much shorter deadlines but if you don’t when they are you could miss out.

Never approach a journalist with a new story on the day they’re trying to get to press (unless of course it’s breaking news)!

[list_circle color=”#26a29a” font_size=”11pt”][list_item]Decide on the story[/list_item][/list_circle]

What is your reason for seeking media exposure and what is the story? Why does it matter and why would anyone be interested? You need to be able to convince the journalist that your story is worth covering.

[list_circle color=”#26a29a” font_size=”11pt”][list_item]Target your media[/list_item][/list_circle]

Adapt your story angle so it is relevant to the publication or programme you want to reach. Look through their previous coverage to get a feel.

[list_circle color=”#26a29a” font_size=”11pt”][list_item]Pitch in your story[/list_item][/list_circle]

A well written press release is the best approach for a news item. See this blog post on how to write a press release. Most local newspapers are short staffed so appreciate it when the work has been done for them.

If you’re trying to sell the idea of a feature or longer length article then a couple of paragraphs summarising your idea will be sufficient.

You also pitch in ideas over the phone but it can be hard trying to get hold of busy journalists.

[list_circle color=”#26a29a” font_size=”11pt”][list_item]Follow up[/list_item][/list_circle]

Don’t be afraid to chase up press releases by phone or email if you haven’t heard. If despite chasing you haven’t heard back then you can probably assume that the journalist is not interested.

You can offer the same story to different publications or programmes. It’s best to be upfront though. If you’re aiming for an exclusive feature article then don’t offer the same idea to more than one publication/programme.

[list_circle color=”#26a29a” font_size=”11pt”][list_item]Monitor coverage[/list_item][/list_circle]

Keep an eye out for coverage and thank the journalist when they do cover your story. This helps build relationships and goodwill which is helpful for future coverage.

Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get results first or every time. Keep at it. It can take time to build relationships and reputation. Sometimes even the best stories get pushed out due to breaking news events which are beyond anyone’s control.