A good friend of mine is an editor at a major metropolitan newspaper. He once ran a story about a service that offers home delivery of organic fruits and vegetables in the home section. From that one article, this small business increased its revenue by 20%! Who couldn’t use an instant 20% bump in business?
Positive press should be an important part of your marketing strategy. Press is effective because people consider it an objective third party and an authority. Legitimate press has a tremendous amount of credibility. If they good things about your business - it carries a lot of weight.
The thing that surprises me is that my editor friend tells me that he can’t get some business owners to call him back when trying to set up an interview. These business owners might as well be shoveling stacks of cash into the furnace! I don’t get it.
Here are some tips for dealing with the press:
- Be available: I have been really fortunate to get a lot of press exposure for my various businesses. I will drop just about anything to talk to a reporter or editor, or to appear on camera or radio. If you are a good interview and available – reporters will keep you in the rolodex and call you back. Being unavailable means you miss out on opportunities to boost your profits.
- Learn how press releases work: Press releases are a powerful PR weapon when used correctly. This article is too short to go into how to write and send press releases, so I’ll just recommend that you educate yourself on how they work.
- Be nice: Do not badger reporters or editors for coverage. Do you enjoy working with people who annoy you? Be nice to everybody in the organization. If you are rude to the advertising sales people it can definitely get back to the editors – who may decide to call on your competitor for the next article. Be pleasant when you speak to the press (actually it’s a great rule of thumb for the world in general).
- Avoid unethical press: If a press organization offers to do a story about your business in exchange for running an ad, or cash, or anything – politely decline. Legitimate press never prostitutes itself like that; illegitimate press is transparent and ineffective.
- Stay positive: Never, ever, ever badmouth a competitor or anybody else, especially to the press. Be prepared to be asked about competitors, and have positive responses prepared if you can’t speak off the cuff. Whenever the press asks me about a competitor, I always say something like, “they’re greatthey do x and we’re a little different because we offer y”. Differentiation is great, put-downs make you look like a jerk.
J D Moore – Marketing Comet