- Gaining media coverage whether TV or print is easier that you think for small businesses.
- To stand apart from your competitors, make friends with journalists and understand what makes a great story.
- Try video news releases instead of text-based media releases and always share your success on social media and emails.
One of the best ways to stand out from your competitors and get free publicity is to get media coverage. Whether it is an article in your local newspaper, a story on the television news or an advice column for an industry magazine, they are invaluable when it comes to gain an edge against competitors.
As a journalist and as the owner of national public relations agency, Adoni Media, I spend a lot of time listening to people’s stories about how they built their business, what they do differently and the hurdles they’ve overcome.
Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there are 2.1 million small businesses alone in Australia. And the problem is many of them don’t realise they have a good story waiting to be told.
So, how do you do it? How do you get your story and your brand on the airwaves or in print?
After working on both sides of the media divide as a journalist who decides what makes a story and a public relations professional who identifies which ideas are worth pitching, here are some of my tips.
1. Understand what makes a story
The first step to gaining media coverage is to have a newsworthy, timely and relevant story idea that will interest your audience whether they be consumers or industry stakeholders.
Stay up to date with current news events and if you see an opportunity that relates to your field of expertise, offer to comment or provide a case study. The media, especially in local markets, is always looking to localise stories.
2. Build media contacts
If you have a strong relationship with a journalist, you and your business are more likely to be ‘go-to’ commentators when they need local comment or case studies.
To build and maintain a relationship, make sure that when you offer story ideas, they are relevant to the journalist and their media outlet. For example, you wouldn’t pitch a lifestyle story to a finance reporter or a political opinion piece to a mum blogger. Always research the journalist you’re pitching your idea to and send them content that their audience will be interested in.
3. Use video news releases
A written media release is important but if you want to increase your chances of getting television coverage, consider working with a public relations agency that specialises in creating video news releases (VNRs).
A VNR gives broadcast journalists the video, pictures and interviews they need to produce a story. Sometimes a journalist might want to cover your media event but breaking news or a shortage of camera crews on the day mean they can’t attend. If you have planned and can provide them with a VNR, then the reporter has everything they need to put a story to air and you get the publicity you had hoped for.
VNRs are also extremely useful in gaining media coverage in regional markets for events that are held in major cities. For instance, if an event or media call is happening in a capital city but has repercussions for people in specific regional areas, a VNR can provide interview ‘grabs’ or answers specific to those towns.
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan and Harry, visited Fraser Island in late 2018, King Fisher Bay Resort utilised a VNR to gain media coverage locally, nationally and internationally. The resort, part of the Accor Group, was able to provide content otherwise not available to mainstream media, including details of what the royals ate and the type of accommodation they stayed in. The behind-the-scenes footage resulted in coverage on Channels 10, 9 and 7 as well as international media.
4. Promotional videos and social media
Although the main purpose of a VNR is to gain media coverage by distributing content to newsrooms, the footage can be used for future promotion of the business.
Promotional videos are valuable for small businesses as they can be included in a media kit to help journalists cover future stories and can be featured across social media to build brand awareness.
Statistics show 90% of small businesses in Australia have a Facebook presence and 24% of Australians use social media sites including Facebook to follow or find businesses and brands.
5. Share your media success
When you do make the headlines or have an advice/opinion piece published, share the news story on your social media and emails with your customers. The ‘halo’ effect of your business being in the news helps reinforce to them that you are different from your competitors and helps build brand trust.
Do you need help with
public relations (PR)?
There are 30 PR experts on standby