Product failures, overstated earnings, insider trading and large-scale layoffs rank among the factors that cause a business to be the center of media attention. But there are several techniques to help your business garner positive coverage in the press. When contacting reporters, avoid calling them near the time their company’s newscasts are scheduled to begin. When you do speak with or email them, keep your comments brief and don’t ask them to commit to covering a story. Others make the final decision on what stories receive coverage, and breaking news can change a reporter’s assignments in an instant.
If you have a new product, a large number of job openings or a business expansion to announce, send a news release to local media outlets. Start off by clearly explaining what is new or different about the product or event. Later in the release, include some background information about your company, including a summary of your lines of business and the number of people you employ. Make sure the news release includes the name, phone number and email address of the person who will serve as the spokesperson for the company or arrange interviews.
Offers of Expertise
Make available to the media members of your staff who are well-spoken experts in their field and can enhance the media’s coverage of a particular topic. For example, if you own an Internet marketing company, the media might like to interview your marketing manager for a comment on the latest social media trend. If your CEO is an expert in environmental protection, he might lend valuable perspective to a story on a chemical spill in your area. Prepare a list of employees, their areas of expertise, and their contact information for distribution to local reporters. Have these employees create profiles on LinkedIn that list their areas of expertise, since reporters use the site to find subject-matter experts. You can also subscribe to “Help A Reporter Out,” a website that sends you emails from reporters looking for experts in specific subjects.
Television news thrives on video, and a newspaper that won’t include a full article about your company might still mention an event accompanied by compelling images. Look for visually interesting ways to promote your business. For example, owners of a pet supply company could host a dog and cat fashion show and draw in participants by offering free pet supplies to the winning costumed animals. A video-game business could give away free copies of the latest “hot” game to the first customers in the store on a specified day. Images of gamers camping outside your business can be a lighthearted way to end a newscast.
Serve Your Community
Serving a nonprofit organization in your community can promote your business indirectly in the media. For example, organize a team of workers to participate in a run/walk fundraiser for a local charity, and outfit them in T-shirts that clearly display your company logo. Have them wear bizarre hats or shoes that make them stand out even more. When reporters cover the story at the charity’s request, their video footage may include shots of your employees. Your logo may also get coverage when displayed as part of your sponsorship of a charity event.
Ann Frederick has been a professional writer since 1993. She began her career as a television news producer and then transitioned into public relations, working for local, state and federal government agencies. Her professional awards include a silver ADDY. Frederick holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from Florida State University.