FREE PUBLICITY FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

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It doesn’t cost anything, except an investment of time.

Free publicity for small business owners can be an extra special gift, especially for those in service industries struggling to survive amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

Just because you don’t have a big budget to pay for marketing and advertising doesn’t mean you can’t get mind-blowing maximum exposure for your business. The truth is free publicity for small business owners is possible. You can get a wealth of free publicity quickly by implementing proven strategies.

FREE MEANS FREE

Free publicity for small business owners is just that – free. All that is required is an investment of time. As the country starts to reopen its economy, shuttered businesses are starting to reopen their doors to a new way of operating, a new way of conducting business, and a new way of relating to customers.

There is perhaps, no one who wants to cover your journey into a new normal more than a reporter looking for a new story. So, go ahead. Give ’em one. What you will get in return is free publicity that can not only help your business survive, but thrive. 

If you are not sure about how to contact a reporter or how to create a buzz to promote your business, don’t worry. I have a few guidelines to help you get started. Ready? Let’s do it!

Contact Members of The Local Media

TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine reporters are always looking for stories and respected experts to share their points of view, offer facts, stats, and other valuable information for their reports. This in turn creates a golden opportunity for free publicity for small business owners.

Watch Local Television News

Television news reporters cover a wide range of stories, including business stories. Watch morning, midday, evening, and late night newscasts (Sunday through Saturday) to learn the names of news anchors and reporters and see which kinds of stories they cover. Most consumer reporters and general assignment reporters cover business stories.

*Keep In Mind

Television viewership is growing by leaps and bounds. When viewers want to know what is going on in their community they turn to the station they trust.

Weekday and weekend newscasts, especially morning and midday shows feature guests who are interviewed by news anchors. They are usually interviewed live in studio. However, due to the Coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic, some news anchors are working from home and in-studio interviews are banned until further notice for the sake of safety and social distancing.

Guests are now being interviewed from their homes and businesses via Skype, Zoom, and other forms of technology.

While watching television news, take note of the calibre of experts featured in reporter stories and live interviews.

Guests should be compelling, animated, and passionate.

Guests should talk with the reporter, anchor or producer before the interview to have a clear understanding of details pertaining to the interview, including location and time.

Guests should be prepared to discuss the topic of conversation.

Guests should offer pictures, videos, charts, and graphs to support their interview.

Guests should have relevant and new information that is easy to comprehend.

Guests should be clear and concise with their answers to questions.

Guests should be prepared to demonstrate how something works or how to do something, if their segment warrants that kind of interaction.

Listen To Radio Newscasts

Listen to morning, midday, and evening newscasts on radio stations. Like television, radio reporters cover a wealth of stories and they sign off by mentioning their names at the end of their reports.

*Keep In Mind

The number of radio listeners is growing exponentially, too.

In addition to newscasts, radio stations also broadcast talk shows.

Radio talk show hosts want interesting, dynamic, and passionate guests.

Guests should be prepared for the discussion.

Guests should be prepared to talk for a long period of time depending on whether their interview is live on air or recorded.

Gentleman Reading Newspaper
Courtesy: Sam Wheeler/Unsplash

Read Newspapers and Magazines 

Read local newspapers and magazines. Look for the byline above each article to get the name of the reporter who wrote it.

*Keep In Mind

There are local magazines, suburban journals, business journals, and small-circulation newspapers and they all have loyal readers.

Local newspaper stories are frequently picked up or followed by large-circulation newspapers.

Contact Reporters 

Connect with reporters via email, phone, mail, and social media.

*Keep In Mind

Reporters have social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter.

You can Google radio and television stations and newspapers and magazines to secure their newsroom numbers to call writers, reporters, anchors, producers, and assignment managers.

You can leave a message on tip lines. Follow up, if you don’t get a response after a day or two.

You can visit media websites to gather contact information for their respective newsrooms and reporters, including their phone numbers, email addresses, and bio’s.

You know what else is on their respective websites? Stories. Stories that air during television and radio newscasts and stories that are published in newspapers and magazines are also posted on their respective websites.

Free Publicity For Small Business Owners
Courtesy: William Iven/Unsplash

Be Prepared

Have your facts together before you reach out to a reporter.

Be clear and concise about the story or segment idea you are pitching.

Be ready for coverage and an interview. If a reporter is interested in your pitch, they usually act on it right away.

Make sure your blog and website look professional.

*Keep In Mind

Reporters are busy.

Reporters work on several stories simultaneously.

Reporters have pressing deadlines.

Free Publicity For Small Business Owners
Courtesy: Us Wah/Unsplash

Prepare A Press Release

Prepare an awesome press release  to send to newsroom assignment managers, reporters, anchors, show hosts, writers, and producers.

Write an attention grabbing headline that screams, “READ ME.”

Include your credentials and main points of your story or segment idea in the first paragraph.

Answer the five W’s – Who, What, When, Where and Why.

Always include your contact information, especially your cell phone number. When reporters need to reach you, time is of the essence.

Send your press release in a timely manner. Four-to six weeks is ideal, if you are sending a press release to pitch a live interview or segment idea on a television morning or midday show. One to two weeks is ideal if you are sending a press release seeking television coverage of a scheduled event.

Send your press release to newsroom assignment managers, anchors, reporters, and producers at every radio and television station in town and to every magazine and newspaper.

After you send your press release, follow up with an email or phone call to the person you sent it to make sure it was received.

 When you connect with the recipient, offer to schedule an interview.

Don’t be surprised if a reporter wants to interview you on the spot in advance of your event. If that happens, be sure to ask them to also cover the scheduled event, too.

If there is breaking news or another reason the reporter can’t make your scheduled event or any event you plan, take pictures, record video, and email it to them. That way you will still get on air coverage.

If you see breaking news, don’t wait. Call the newsroom or Tip-line immediately.

Free Publicity For Small Business Owners
Courtesy: Major Tom Agency/Unsplash

*Keep In Mind

Reach out to the media if you have a feature or human interest story to pitch.

Reach out to the media if you see news happening near your business.

If you see a television news story or hear a radio news report or read a magazine or newspaper article about a subject that fits the area which you have expertise, call the reporter if you would like to add your point of view.

Every day is a good day to contact newsrooms and reporters, including weekends and holidays.

Now is an especially good time for business owners to reach out to the news media about their trials and triumphs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Show reporters what you are doing now that you were not doing before COVID-19.

Invite reporters to cover your grand re-opening. Put up balloons and offer customers “Welcome Back” deals and specials.

Invite reporters to cover your community work, including fundraising events and donation drives.

Free Publicity For Small Business Owners
Courtesy: Austin Distel/ www.distel.com/Unsplash

Listen To Podcasts

There are about a million podcasts on the internet, which cover just about every subject under the sun, including business. Guess what? Podcast hosts want interesting, energetic guests, too.

*Keep In Mind

You can start your own podcast the same way other successful business owners have done. The audio broadcast platform reaches millions of online listeners, which is another great opportunity to get free publicity for small business owners.

Talk about what it is like to reopen your business after being closed for weeks due to COVID-19.

Talk about your challenges and victories.

Invite other small business owners to join you for a discussion about the challenges and complexities you are facing as you navigate unchartered territory.

Free Publicity For Small Business Owners
Courtesy: William Iven/Unsplash

Use Social Media

Billions of people around the world use social media. Your business can attract a great deal of attention, especially if your post or video goes viral.

*Keep In Mind

It doesn’t cost anything to open an account on social media, including Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, but it does require content.

Post pictures and videos about your business on social media daily.

Go live on Facebook for your grand re-opening, special events, and every day activities.

Show visitors how to use a product or how to make something. Do a live presentation or record and post it to your account.

Join social media groups that share your interests and concerns, participate in conversations, and post articles about your business.

Fre Publicity For Small Business Owners
Courtesy: Corinne Kutz/Unsplash

Contribute To Blogs

There are a millions of blogs on the internet. Many have a huge number of followers. Some accept articles from guest bloggers creating another way to get free publicity for small business owners.

Blog about your business.

Share you journey.

People love success stories.

*Keep In Mind

There are a myriad of blogs online that offer valuable content, everything from niche blogs to personal blogs and from professional blogs to business blogs.

The Interview Request

If a producer, reporter, anchor, or show host calls you for an interview, be prepared and be flexible. Develop a professional relationship with them. You never know, if your interview goes well, you could end up becoming a valuable source who is called on for interviews time and time again creating even more free publicity for you and your small business.

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