Whatever the size or interest of your business, setting yourself apart in the public eye (aka gaining publicity) can give your products or service a professional image or even increase sales. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that publicity should be one of your first concerns.
But how does a home-based business with limited resources set itself out from the competition? Ads can be expensive and unless you’re willing to see it through the 5 to 7 exposures it takes before the public takes notice, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. Positioning yourself as an expert in your field with the news and trade media of your clients present another option.
In my discussions with many entrepreneurs, the question inevitably arises of ‘'why should a story on my business in the local media matter?’’ It is a valid question. Most think of dealing with the media and public relations as in the realm of big corporations and politicians. The fact is public or media relations have a very commercial application. When promoting your business, you need to consider all possible marketing methods and advertising efforts.
In any successful organization, PR is in fact an integral part of the marketing mix. Imagine if the local newspaper or radio station offered you free advertisement or even a series of free advertising. What effect could that have on your marketing efforts?
Properly developed media relations and a well-crafted story can have the same effect! Imagine yourself getting an article in your local paper profiling your business, yourself, or your service.
So what is an entrepreneur to do to be positioned as the media’s favoured ‘’guru’’? Ever heard the question, ‘'How will you know you've gotten there, if you don't have a map to tell you where you're going, ’’ Communications and marketing are in the same boat.
Before going off to launch an ad, promotion, or contacting journalists to profile your story, identify these key points:
WHO am I looking to target?
WHAT media are they most prone to view?
WHY does your idea matter to them? In other words, where's the real STORY?
WHEN: why is it relevant for them to act now?
HOW: What's going on in the lives of your target that makes you relevant?
From there, consider drafting a news release to launch a special event you’re doing or even tie your expertise into a current trend that’s all the rage. You’d be surprised at the effect that getting a mention in the news can have!
Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies: http://www.action-strategies.ca , a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly tips newsletter by visiting and dropping down the “newsletter” menu. You can also subscribe to his blog: http://actionstrategies.blogspot.com .