Public Relations for Small Businesses: A Guide to Creating Your Own Media List

March 28, 2013 in Publlic Relations

 

Public Relations I have guest post today by the fabulous Joy Gendusa the CEO of PostcardMania.  Joy has put together a complete “how to guide” that you can follow step by step for creating a successful public relations campaign for your business.

I want to send out a big thank you to Joy once again for taking the time to share her knowledge and expertise with us.

 

A Guide to Creating Your Own Media List

Taking on the task of finding an appropriate publication to feature your small business on your own can be daunting. I’m here to show you how easy it can be, once you know where to start.

Small business public relations is about maintaining a relationship with your customers and prospective customers through various media. Companies make impressions on the public everyday through newspapers, TV, or magazines. They are boosting their brand awareness, building trust, and, unfortunately, some are hurting both these things through bad business decisions. You need to make the right impression for your business using these outlets.

 

Section 1: Finding Your Approach and Building Your Contacts

Let’s start with your approach. There are 2 angles you can take with your small business PR: 

  1. You are a successful business owner, whose hard work has produced a successful business offering quality products or services.
  2. You are an expert in a particular area and, whether you offer a product or service, you are the expert of that niche. You want to share your knowledge with your public audience.

 

Once you know your approach, you have to choose an outlet and build a media contact list…

 1. Local Paper

Simply go through your local paper and find the relevant section for your business. If you are a Realtor, go to the home or real estate section. You can also just check the general business section to see if they feature local small businesses/start-ups. If they do, look at the bottom of published articles for the editor and add them to your media contacts spreadsheet.

2. National Trade Specific Publications

Once you’ve mapped out local print media, expand to national publications that are specific to your industry. This could be as simple as a Google search. There are tons of industry specific online and print publications. Find them and read them to find their editors (usually found at the bottom of articles). Also check www.FreeTradeMagazines.com, and subscribe to relevant magazines. Find all the relevant editors you can and add them to your spreadsheet. Also, look at these publication’s websites for their editorial calendar, which can be found in the editorial section. If you can’t find it, go ahead and contact the site to see if they can send you their calendar. It will give you a good idea of the topics they are looking to cover. Add any relevant calendar info to your spreadsheet as well.

3. Blogs

Blogs are a great resource, because you can find other relevant experts in your field and team up with them to get your message out. You can find them by doing a Google Blog search. Find some relevant experts, and add them to your spreadsheet. They may let you write a guest blog, or mention you in a post, if they like your pitch. Explore all the blogs you can by looking at the “similar blogs” sidebar, and any in-post mentions. You can find contact info in the “About Us” section.

 

Section 2: Get Attention With a Well-Crafted Pitch

First things first: keep your pitches short and concise. You want to get their attention and tell them what they need to know as efficiently as possible, to give yourself the best chance to get them interested. These editors get hundreds or thousands of these pitches A DAY! If your email looks lengthy or complicated, it likely won’t get a second glance. Great story ideas get passed by if they aren’t pitched efficiently.

You can change your approach (see above for the 2 approaches) depending on the publication, but make sure you know which you are using for each pitch. I recommend outlining your first couple pitches until you get a feel for it. You need to know exactly what message you’re looking to convey, so you can craft your pitch with precision and concision.

This is an example of an email pitch that resulted in some great media coverage for PostcardMania:

Hello Bob,

I recently read an incredible article titled, “The Hunters Become the Hunted in Marketing” in your publication, DentalTown (June 2011). I was very interested in this article; I think it touches on some very important aspects of a successful dental practice. Print, online, even social media marketing all play a vital role.

At PostcardMania we are experts in all the above fields and we work to help dental businesses generate customers (and keep them). We would be happy to write an article for your publications—providing your readers with a plethora of marketing tips, tricks and advice, including direct mail marketing, email marketing and social media. Our CEO, Joy Gendusa, is also available for interviews.

Does this sound of interest to you and your publication? Please feel free to call me with any questions!

Best,

Amanda Jones

Director of Public Relations

myemail@postcardmania.com

 

 

In this email, I do three things that are solid PR pitch strategy:      

 

1. I reference the publication, to show them I am engaged with their content and did my homework before pitching to them.

2. I give him the facts, establishing PostcardMania as an expert in marketing, giving him options for content offers, and offer an interview with Joy. Some publications want to control their content’s voice and tone. They won’t want guest submissions, but they may be interested in an interview with experts that they can then turn into content. Throw this option out to give them all the options you can.

3. I end the pitch with a straightforward “Yes or No” question to encourage responses. Something like: “Is this something you are interested in hearing more about?” Remember these are busy people, so a Yes/No question is your best bet.

 

Follow Up:

It’s completely appropriate to follow-up with an editor if they don’t respond to your pitch, but give them 3 days before doing so. A great way to do it is by forwarding your original message and adding a follow-up message. This gives them all the info in the original email to reference without you having to retype.

If you still do not receive a response, they are likely not interested in the pitch. Take a week or two to read more of their content and craft a new pitch. Repeat this cycle. That is how you build relationships with editors and give your company the best chance to be published.

Good Luck and Happy Pitching!

Be sure to stop by PostcardMania where you can Download a Free Do-It-Yourself PR report.  You will also find a wealth of information on marketing your business there and a whole lot of other “freebies” you will love.

 

If you haven’t already subscribed, be sure to do that today so you don’t miss any of the business building tips I have coming your way. I want 2013 to be your best year ever!  And if you enjoyed this article, please share it.

 

Joy Gendusa
Thanks once again to Joy for sharing her expertise with us.
 
Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm, PostcardMania. Joy began PostcardMania in 1998, with nothing but a phone and a computer, never taking a dime of investment capital. Joy originally started PostcardMania as a full-service postcard marketing company helping clients create turn-key marketing campaigns with graphic design, printing, mailing list acquisition and mailing services. Since then, PostcardMania has expanded to offer its clients more services including website and landing page design and development, email marketing and full marketing evaluations — all while continuing to educate clients with free marketing advice.
 
In 2011, PostcardMania reached almost $45 million in annual revenue and the company now employs more than 195 people, prints 4 million and mails 2 million postcards each week, and has more than 53,000 customers in over 350 industries. Please visit www.postcardmania.com  for more information.Find Joy on Google+.