“There is only one thing worse in the world than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
~ Oscar Wild
Oscar and other famous people throughout history have eluded to the fact that there is no such thing as bad publicity. And while there may be some truth to that, the fact is, many SMB owners know firsthand that getting publicity can be incredibly challenging thanks to limited resources and staff.
Here are some of our favorite ways SMBs can leverage the power of PR and get their name in the news.
Tell Customer Stories
In many ways, a PR campaign is no different than other forms of advertising, and by that I mean you should always be customer-focused. Your message should never be about how great your products or services are, but how much they help the people in your local community.
Your brand’s story should be a curation of your customer’s stories. Contact some of your most loyal customers (AKA – your biggest fans) to find out how your business has helped them and how they personally use your product or service.
Once you speak with enough customers, you’ll get a sense of how they are interacting with your business and how your company is positively impacting your community. And, once you know this, you can contact some local journalists to see if someone might be interested in helping you share these stories.
Hijack the News
You may have heard the term “newsjacking” but weren’t exactly sure what it meant or how it could benefit your bottom line.
This approach entails keeping your eye on any breaking news that might be relevant to your business and then piggybacking on it to try and get your company into the story. This can be a powerful meth od to help SMBs break into the news cycle and expand their reach.
Of course, as with most successes in life, timing is everything. With newsjacking, you’ve got to be able to move on a story right after it’s broken, when journalists are scrambling to get fresh perspectives and additional information.
You may also want to hijack the news when you know it is about to break, as in the case of knowing an upcoming event or a report being released about your local economy.
You might be thinking you don’t have time to follow news cycles, but you can use something like Google alerts for key terms related to your industry, and updates will be emailed to you.
Tap into Thought Leadership
Local business owners have two big advantages: they know their industry, and they know what their customers want or need. You should be using this knowledge to your advantage.
Here’s a perfect example of what leveraging thought leadership might look like:
A small business PR strategy resulted in this Philly.com article that interviewed the owner of Body Cycle Studio in Philadelphia to discuss his favorite workout songs – plus he created a playlist. How much extra business do you think this article helped him get? Plenty.
At the end of the day, getting local press coverage will take some effort and commitment. Don’t feel discouraged if your first 10 pitches for stories get rejected – that’s simply the nature of the beast, as journalists get hundreds of pitches, sometimes in a single day.
But this is a numbers game. If you keep at it, you will eventually land in your local news cycle and your business will be rewarded handsomely for your efforts.