How much does it cost you to buy ad space in a newspaper or on a popular industry blog or online publication?
How much would it cost to buy ad space on local TV or even national TV?
It can get pretty expensive. Obviously if you could get press coverage for your company without having to pay you’d save the cost of buying ad space.
But it goes even beyond that. People pay attention to the regular content in the press more than they pay attention to the ads. Maybe it’s three times as much. Maybe it’s ten times as much, but it’s more.
We even see that in Google’s results. Most people know that the first few listings are ads so they skip to the organic listings. And it’s always been the same in other media whether it’s newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, social media, blogs and all the other forms of media.
The trick is getting that press coverage.
Here are some tips for getting more press coverage for your business.
Tip #1. Identify What Makes You Stand Out
This is a big one and you’ll read it in every article about PR and press coverage and all that stuff. The reason it’s so important is that people in the press know that the general public wants to read unique and interesting stories.
Nobody writes or creates a story about someone or something that has already been done or that’s been done lately. That’s boring and people aren’t going to pay attention.
Two examples in my local community from the last few years. There have been two breweries that have started. They’re both different and they both stand out in different ways.
The one is a German, Polish and Czech inspired tap room and beer. They really go all in on being a German Brewhouse and the whole deal. In my area there is a large part of the population with those heritages. It was kind of odd that a brewery hadn’t focused on it before so it made this brewery stand out.
The other is more of a hipster kind of company. They focus on doing really different brews. They do things that you wouldn’t expect. They have a unique style with their logo and with their designs. They say things that are kind of weird and it really connects with the younger crowd and that makes them stand out and gives the press a reason to talk about them.
Tip #2. Fight For Something
That second brewery has been in the news a lot over the last several years. It always seems like they’re fighting for something. At first, the guy couldn’t figure out how to open the brewery because he also owned a local tavern and it’s against the law for a tavern owner to also owner a brewery. It’s an old law from just after Prohibition was ended back in the ’30s.
So they had to fight to exist and launch and it got them a lot of coverage even before they launched. Then just this year they were “fighting” with the city to get approval to buy an old building so they could build a bigger brewery. The city was just kind of making sure that this was the right move, but the brewery kind of angled the story that they had to fight the city to get something that they felt was great for the city.
Fighting for something brings people together. You don’t necessarily need an enemy, but it can help and if it’s a common enemy then people band around you and that often is something that gets press coverage.
Tip #3. Raise The Voice Of A Group In The Community
Both of those breweries kind of gave a voice to groups in the community. Their efforts were for themselves, but they also made it a group effort in the community. People like being part of something and working for something.
Social media has been great for people to form bonds around things including businesses. We like to identify with brands and businesses. What those businesses stand for are things that we can stand for and if we wear a t-shirt or mention that we use that brand then people associate us with that brand and its values.
Look at who your target customer is in the community or in the world and look to raise their voice. Look for ways that you can make them look good and make them feel heard and powerful. When you raise the voice of your audience then they’ll help to raise you up and the press often pays attention to that.
Tip #4. Be Something Good For The Community
It also helps if what you’re doing is something that’s good for the community. I live in a beer drinking community so most people like the idea of a new brewery or two in the area. People really made their voice heard when the breweries wanted to come to the downtown area. People wanted them to be there and the press listened and help spread the word that many people wanted this.
When you tell your story on your website, on social media, in person and to the press make sure you have a way of expressing how you are good for the community. People in the press like that kind of spin because when it’s good for the community people will pay attention and read what they’re writing.
Tip #5. Build Relationships With Every Level Of The Press
Finally, it’s critical to make relationships with people at every level in the press. Get to know who your local writers are. Identify the local people on TV. Then look at the industry bloggers, social media personalities and even the big writers in national industry publications like blogs and websites.
Those are the people that you need to get to know. You can start by sending introduction emails. Comment on their articles. Send them monthly emails mentioning something specific they wrote about or covered and how you liked it. Just check-in on a regular basis. Put it on your calendar to check-in just to tell them hello and get to know them. Ask them a question once in awhile and learn who they are, what they care about all those good things.
Treat these folks like colleagues, co-workers and friends. The more you know people the more likely they are to pay attention to your story. Don’t just jump in with your pitches. Make it a regular habit to get to know them on all levels.
Press coverage can be great for your business, but it’s not easy to get and it really doesn’t happen overnight no matter how much it can seem like it. As with anything in business, it takes time. It takes building real relationships. It takes putting others ahead of your own interests, but if you’re willing to put in that industry it can really pay off because many aren’t willing to put in the effort. That’s where the opportunity is.