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Pitching to the media


As a small business owner, advertising is the most expensive marketing option you can choose.

While it does work, chances are your small business doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on newspaper ads, radio spots or television commercials. Instead, try to drum up some free media coverage about your business.

Here’s how.

Talk about issues, not your business.

The media won’t run a story about your upcoming shoe sale — that’s advertising, not news, so don’t waste their time. You must attach your business to some current and relevant issues that interest the media. For instance, a real estate agent might offer five suggestions to beautify a home in order to achieve a desirable selling price amidst this market of declining home sales.

Write a media release

A professional, one-page media release should be written like a news story. Editors and reporters are busy people, so the less work they must do to fix up your release the more likely it will run. Use plenty of quotes and statistics, such as “painting your house can increase its value by $10,000.”

Follow up with media

News desks receive hundreds — even thousands — of media releases each day. Draw attention to your e-mailed or faxed media release with a simple follow up phone call. It’s a good idea to be prepared with a second story angle or media release in case the media person wants to pursue a different angle or needs more information.

Media coverage will put your business in the spotlight and build your reputation. It’s often more credible than paid advertising because it is a neutral third party saying good things about you.