By Joan Stewart
The Publicity Hound
In a funk because your competitors seem to be snagging all the free media publicity? It’s time to start claiming your share. Here are six publicity tips for small business owners.
- Tie story ideas to the holidays. Example: A bookstore that’s offering a special program for Valentine’s Day. An accountant who offers media tips on how people can stay out of jail if they’re doing their own taxes. A concierge who can suggest ways people can save time when Christmas shopping. See Special Report #14: How to Piggyback Your Story Ideas onto Holidays and Anniversaries
- Call the advertising department of every newspaper and magazine you want to get into and ask for a copy of their editorial calendar. It’s a free listing of all the special topics and special sections coming up during the calendar year. It will tip you off to sections where your story idea would be a good fit.
- Invite a business reporter from your local newspaper or magazine for coffee or lunch. Instead of asking, “Will you write about me?” a better question is “How can I help you?” Offer yourself as a resource in your area of expertise. Go Dutch, because some reporters can’t accept free meals. See “Craigslist: A Valuable Publicity Tool.”
- Start your own television show on your cable TV station’s community access channel. A floral shop can do a program on how to create dried flower arrangements, for example. The station provides the camera equipment for about $20. Air time is free. Produce one show or an entire series of programs. Call your cable company for details.
- Build a network of other small-business people in your area. Agree informally that you will refer reporters to each other whenever a reporter and is doing a story on a topic in which you all could comment, such as a new sales tax increase.
- Contact your trade association and ask them to refer reporters to you. Many reporters who don’t know where to find sources on a particular topic start by calling trade associations.
Need More Help with Publicity for Small Business?
Special Report #9: How to Snag Free Publicity for Your New Business gives you lots more ideas you can start using tomorrow.
“Craigslist: A Valuable Publicity Tool.” includes valuable advice from Jeff Zbar, the SBA’s Small Business Journalist of Year for 2001, on how to lure small-business reporters with your story idea. Available on CD or as an electronic transcript.
Direct comments or questions about this article, including requests for reprint rights, to:
The Publicity Hound
3434 County KK
Port Washington, WI 53074