NB: This is step 4 of a 5 step series – Step into 2008 with more fun.
In the previous step in this series I asked you to use the conversations you had with your customers to craft your marketing story to help illustrate how your firm was unique. (Click to see the entire series)
Today I am going to ask you to take that story to the media. Earning coverage of your company in the publications and shows that your ideal customers consume is one of the most effective ways to build trust. (See my definition of marketing)
The problem most small businesses experience when it comes to generating PR is that they go about in the wrong way and so they see little or no results and give up trying. You must treat journalists, the folks that can write about your company, like a target market segment. Journalists don’t like to be sold any more than your prospects – they do need your stories, but a lot of folks are trying to sell them. Be different, stand out by targeting the journalists that write about your industry and build relationships with them, educate them, build trust – then you will start to see some PR results.
- Here are your action steps for today
- Build a very select – five or six at the most – media list for your business. Identify the actual journalists by name that write in your community or about your industry
- Create email alerts or RSS feeds for each – Google and Yahoo news allow you to create an email alert that will notify you by email any time one of your targeted journalists writes a story. The first step to building a relationship is listening – these alerts make it easy.
- Find out if any of these journalists have a blog – increasingly this is the case. If they do, make sure that you are reading it – subscribe to their RSS feed through a service such as Bloglines so that it’s easy for you to see the new content. Start posting the occasional relevant comment on your targeted journalist’s blog and building an avenue of trust.
- Make it a habit to drop notes to each (handwritten is nice) over the course of the next few weeks commenting on, adding to or highlighting some element of a story they wrote. This is not meant to be shameless sucking up, this is your chance to demonstrate that not only do you read what they write, you are a credible industry resource. Feel free to send industry data and research that they might not have access to in an effort to become a resource to them.
- Within the next month (only after completing all the steps above) invite them to coffee and tell them your story. Make sure you bring them some information they might use in a future story. Don’t ask for the order, a story about you, just continue to give, build the relationship, and the stories, mentions and quotes will follow.
- Here’s a short video I did recently called “The Proper Way to Stalk a Journalist.” Despite the title it may reinforce today’s message.
- I’ve also created a nifty little Press Release writing tool that makes it easier to write and format a one page press release.
- You can find a list of assorted Public Relations resources here