For SMBs, any media mention or coverage is something that cannot be taken lightly. It can propel the business to better clientele, more authority among peers and significant attention from the target audience as well. The fact that a company is mentioned in a mainstream newspaper, radio or TV channel is enough to make it appear in online search results more often.
To cut a long story short, media coverage is immensely helpful to the growth and sustainability of small and medium businesses. In this article, let us take a look at how one can improve the chances of being covered in media once in a while.
Customize your story
For each publication that you pitch, customize your brand story. Every publication is different and each has its own quirks and characteristic choices. Keep those quirks in mind and create custom stories that could attract the editors’ or journalists’ attention. Each time you contact a journalist or an editor of a particular publication, change the way you present your story. Some publications like it humorous and some like serious. A few others like it critical. Depending on the tone and voice of a publication, edit the way you narrate your story.
Build a brand narrative
Never present your products or services as just that. It is not going to interest mainstream media. They are obviously looking for stories to cover and not advertisements to publish. They have separate departments to take care of advertisements and that is not what we are trying to attempt here. Instead, create a story around your brand with newsworthy action built into it.
Did your service change the way market insiders look at certain issues? Did your product change the lives of a certain segment of the market? Why is your product or service newsworthy? Think about creating brand narratives that appeal to journalists and reporters. Make yourselves newsworthy.
Keep it quirky
Journalists absolutely have no interest in publishing a “news story” in which you are trying to hard-sell the fact that you offer a great product or service. What sets your products or services from the rest of them? What makes them interesting to write and publish for the mainstream audience? Discover how you can present your brand as a weird or quirky news topic that would get their readers interested. Quirkier the narrative, the better.
Emotional appeal and human interest stories
Journalists and editors are always looking for human interest stories. Did your product or service change the lives of someone? Did you donate money to a charitable organization or hold an event that helped a certain section of the society? Make your news emotional and it probably will feature as a human interest story.
Get covered by smaller publications
If bigger news outlets do not have time for a smaller company like yours, try and get a smaller publication to write news stories about your products & services. When you are published in a small publication, reporters and journalists from a larger publication might find your company through that story. That might result in a second interview or report.
Do not indulge in bragging and do not expect that journalists will find your bragging amusing. They are used to writing about very serious topics and most publications are wary about writing on businesses, small or big. Make sure that you are honest about what you are trying to publish as news and ensure that the honesty is felt in the media package that you send them.
Editors, usually, pass on stories that are not creative. They will be crudely ignored if your stories are not interesting enough or creative enough. Make sure that your brand story is presented in a creative and tactful manner. It needs to be able to hold the interest of an editor who has several other news stories to publish. What makes your news different and important enough?
Do not be intimidated by rejections and refusal to cover your stories. It might take a little while for you to understand how to approach mainstream organizations. They tend to be bureaucratic but the fact that there is more transparency now, especially, with social media being used by mainstream media too, it is easier than ever to contact individual reporters and journalists to sell your story.