Public Relations- What Role Does the Media Play in Your Business?

When you think of the term “public relations,” you probably only think of it as something you may need in the distant future when your small business has grown into a giant beast of a success story. In reality, if you want to see your business grow into something amazing even sooner, then it’s time to start thinking of PR and how it relates to your business today.


Ask anyone in any business and they will tell you that publicity is more effective- and less costly- than advertising. It has a bigger impact on your target audience and actually sends a clear message to a larger number of people than a few Facebook advertisements. What’s more important is that publicity has the huge benefit of being more credible with the public. A story about your brand/ product/ service on the media has a bigger impact on your audience than a flyer stuffed in their mailbox.


Your growing business will become more noticeable in the community and seeing its name in a headline of even a local publication gives people the impression that you are really doing something right.


So, how do you get started in creating some of that beautiful publicity for your company? You don’t have to run right out and throw a check at a huge PR firm. There is so much that can be done on your own or with the people you work with, and a little investment in time can lead to a big publicity payoff in the end. Here is what to do to get started:


Know your message


What is the message that you want the public to hear about your company? Piece it together from your positioning statement and turn it into something that makes sense for your audience and makes them want to learn more about what you offer to the community and your customers.


Define your audience


Who are you trying to target with your message? Craft your message so that it will have the most impact on the people who will benefit the most from what your company has to offer. When you know your audience, you can figure out where they are most likely to find media coverage about you- local radio or news stations, community newspapers and publications.


Why are you reaching out to the media?


What is the media going to do for you? Are they going to talk about the products or services you offer? Do you want them to cover something groundbreaking that you’re doing? Are you taking part in or starting some kind of special event in the community? You need to have something going on that is going to entice your local media to come out and do a story on your business, so come up with something that will really draw some attention. Have a list of ideas ready so that you can pitch to the media. Are you donating toys/ food/ money to a local charity organization? Maybe you want to host a fundraiser to build a community playground. Do you have an item that you just can’t keep in stock and want to get the word out? The media wants a story that is going to generate a lot of talk among its audience so make sure you come up with exciting stunts to draw attention.


How do you choose the right media outlets?


There are thousands of media outlets out there today and not all of them are the right fit for your story. You don’t want to blanket the landscape with the story you want to get out there. Your message just won’t get heard that way, so don’t just start cold emailing journalists and bloggers with your content. Most of them will just filter you out and move onto something that they can work with.


Your first step in choosing the right media outlets for your content is to find out where your story is going to be a good fit. What blogs and publications are being read by your target audience? Where are you finding more of your industry-related content online? When you know where your story will feel welcome, then you have an idea of where to start sending out your queries.


Once you start getting some ideas together about where your content will do well, do your homework to see what their editorial calendar looks like, who you need to reach out to in order to get your story shared to their audience. Look at the types of content they are publishing and get ready to generate some ideas on compelling stories about your business that will get their attention.


Remember, it is important to be choosy about where your story gets published. You want to make an impact on the audience and that will only happen if you are reaching the people your business needs to connect with.


Publicity isn’t free but it’s definitely less expensive than advertising and the impact is much more valuable for your business.

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