Think Facebook and Twitter are all you need to get the word out about your new business? Here are eight more ways to get some media attention.
Now that you’ve made the bold move of opening up your own business, you’re likely faced with the challenge of spreading the word about your goods or services to potential customers. One of the most cost-effective ways to build buzz around your start-up is to get it covered by the media, either local or national. But how does one go about doing that, especially if you don’t have the budget to hire a PR firm?
While getting actively involved in your company’s Facebook page and Twitter feed is essential these days, and using those same tools to follow the media outlets that cover your industry, it might be enough to attract the attention you want. What follows, then, are additional tips from fellow business owners about how to get press for your new business using both tried-and-true methods as well as the benefits you can reap from tapping the latest in social media technology to get your business some media attention.
Capitalize on Other Low-Cost Social Media Tools
While you might equate social media with Facebook and Twitter, there are plenty of other options to attract the attention of the media, says Mike Samson, co-founder ofcrowdSPRING, the online marketplace for logo and web design, who suggests posting press releases on sites like:PRWeb.com, Free Press Release, and PRLog.com.
Samson also suggests answering media inquiries from reporters on sites like HARO, Reporters Connection, Pitch Rate, and NewsBasis. “When a writer needs sources for an upcoming story, they post on these sites seeking people who can help,” says Samson.
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Another option is to check sites like MediaBistro.com, since many publications post their editorial calendars—which preview the kinds of stories they will be running—on the site. “The fee for joining is very minimal and you can learn a lot about how to pitch certain media publications,” says Phyllis Cheung of LuxeFinds.com, a luxury lifestyle search engine for women.
While every business should be doing whatever it can to take advantage of online tools to promote itself, that doesn’t mean you should neglect tried-and-true methods of interpersonal interactions, as well. “Pick up the phone,” says Ryan Carlin, a PR expert who works with start-up sites like Roaming Hunger, a site that tracks, profiles, and provides menus for food trucks around the country. “In an age where 'silent' business like e-mail is possible and often preferred, it undoubtedly makes an impact by picking up the phone. Not only does it establish trust, but it also creates a more solid relationship for future media outreach.”
Along those same lines, Cheung of Luxefinds.com says that she attends networking events in her local area if she knows that journalists and editors will be in attendance. “I introduce myself and we chat about anything from current news in my industry to what I’m doing that is relevant to potential stories they have in the pipeline,” she says, noting that she landed a story with Entrepreneur after meeting the editor-in-chief of the magazine at such an event. “Most of these events are two hours long and can be either free or low cost.”
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For start-ups, there are many advantages to partnering with more established companies—especially if you can reap some press opportunities out of them, saysTamara Clarke, who owns Eco-Exquisite, which makes and sells a line of hair accessories. “By leveraging the media relationships of seasoned companies, start-ups can also spare themselves some time on the bench while trying to get in the game,” says Clarke, who teamed up with one of her clients, Glambar Salon in Atlanta, in publicizing their Second Anniversary Girl’s Club event. The result was that Clarke’s product, the EcoSOQ Natural Sleep Cap, was featured in several blogs and publications, like Essence and Rolling Out magazines. Read more