By Kim Hughes, Director
In today’s competitive business landscape, media coverage can be a powerful tool for driving brand awareness, credibility, and growth for small businesses.
Securing media coverage not only amplifies your message but also establishes you and your organisation as an authoritative voice within your industry.
While it may seem daunting, with a strategic approach and persistence, you can successfully grab the attention of journalists and media outlets – and you don’t have to be a mega superstar brand to do it.
In this blog, we’ll explore some effective and simple strategies to help your small business gain valuable media coverage.
- Know who you are and who you’re talking to
Let’s get down to the absolute basics first. What’s important for all business owners to know – especially when they start planning their PR journey – are three key things…
- Your audience, clients, and customers – know them inside out. Being clear on this is crucial because it steers every business decision you will make. Think about where they hang out, what they read, what they watch so it can steer your targeting.
Also think about their traits, problems, pains, and feelings. When we come to deciding story ideas, knowing this will be what drives the concepts and planning.
- Your why – there are some key questions you can ask yourself to help you establish this? What is the inspiration behind your business? Why do you do what you do? How do you want to serve your audience? Why is it that you want to serve them? What is the impact you want to make? Why did you choose your company name? What is your industry and sector?
Knowing this inside and out will help you target the right publications, the right journalists – it’s how we get really targeted with media outreach.
- Your competitors – you probably know these already. It’s most likely what is driving you to look at digital PR and media relations as a marketing strategy in the first place. Perhaps they are being seen and recognised for the things that you do better.
Having your competitors in mind when you plan your media outreach for the year, or next 3-6 months is key.
- Where do you want to be seen?
You need to have a plan as to which media outlets to target. Here’s some simple ideas about how to establish this…
- What publications resonate with your audience? A great way to establish this is with a survey to your prospective and existing customers, or literally just ask them when you next speak – what magazines do you read? What publications interest you?
- Publications that are industry-specific. Often business owners will think they want to be in the nationals, but never underestimate the power of the small, niche media outlets as that is more likely where your audience is.
- Where are your competitors being seen? Google them, google their CEO, google key staff members – see where they’re being featured because that will give you an insight into media that you too can approach. If they can gain coverage for things you can do better – you definitely can too.
- Journalists, bloggers and influencers covering your industry. Search for who is writing about your industry.
- Finding a Compelling Story
Once you have established your target media – you can start by thinking about ideas for stories to reach out to them with. This is the BEST bit.
You need to give media an angle that is interesting to their target audience.
There is literally inspiration everywhere, but these are just some of my favourite ideas.
- Sales questions you regularly hear – if a question is regularly being asked numerous times, you can safely assume it is a common pain point and something you could be addressing as a story idea.
- National themed days – such an easy and underutilised planning tool which can work as a hook for both B2B and B2C businesses.
- Human interest stories – stories that present real life people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest, sympathy or motivation in the reader or viewer.
- Examples of a wider impact – you may be running charitable or community initiatives that would make a great story. An ESG (environmental, sustainability or governance) or CSR (corporate social responsibility) project to give back. All these things will be of interest to media and help position you, your company and your values in a trustworthy light.
- Newsjacking – this is hopping on the back of timely stories that link into a topical theme or trend. You might have an example of a service or product that is relevant to another news story OR you have a story that can be linked to a trend. This works brilliantly for businesses that are trading in a saturated market or are less glamorous than other sectors – they have to find a way to make themselves stand out and this approach can work wonders.
- Data outreach – using stats, surveys and reports to demonstrate your story. You can conduct your own using Survey Monkey or even ringing clients for feedback, or you can tap into existing reputable stats like Office of National Statistics for example to find a newsworthy angle. Be mindful though, good stories are more than just search data from the internet – they need to include comments, case studies and great images too.
- Search and listening tools – staying informed about current events and industry trends allows you to create timely and relevant content that journalists are more likely to cover. There are lots of really useful search and listening tools which allow you to stay on top of talking points such as Google Alerts. Offer expert commentary or insights on trending topics to position yourself as a go-to source for journalists seeking expert opinions.
- Engage with Journalists
Research and identify journalists who cover topics relevant to your business. Engage with them on social media, share their work, and comment on their articles. Personalise your outreach by referencing their recent stories and explaining why your business would be of interest to their audience. Make yourself seen!
- Collaborate with influencers
Influencers and bloggers can amplify your message to their dedicated audiences. Identify influencers in your niche and explore collaboration opportunities, such as guest blog posts, product reviews, or joint social media campaigns. Their endorsement can lead to increased visibility and credibility.
- Be persistent and patient
Securing media coverage takes time and persistence. Don’t be discouraged by initial rejections or lack of responses. Continue refining your pitches, nurturing relationships, and consistently producing valuable content. Over time, your efforts will pay off with increased media visibility.
Gaining media coverage for your small business requires storytelling, relationship-building, and consistent content creation. By crafting a compelling narrative, building relationships with journalists, and leveraging various PR tactics, you can effectively position your business in the spotlight and achieve valuable media coverage. Remember, patience and persistence are key as you work toward establishing your brand as a recognised and respected authority within your industry.
Want more advice?
Would you like to chat about how Goldings Communications can support your changemaker organisation, do get in touch.