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Before going big, I always suggest going local.
When Chic CEO was only 6 months old, we were featured in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. It was exhilarating seeing our name and logo in such prestigious publications. We saw a huge spike in our web traffic, event attendance and email subscribers as a result of this press and we were addicted. This level of press isn’t as hard to come by as one might think. But before going after national press outlets, I think it’s best to get some traction in local publications and news outlets.
One of the best strategies I share with my community of female entrepreneurs is how to become a local news expert. Essentially, positioning yourself to be the go-to resource for your local news stations.
Why is this important?
Press is an amazing way to get the word out about your services and adds a layer of storytelling that might not otherwise be told in mass. There are so many ways to leverage press and so many ways to get it. Great press lends credibility to you and your company and in my experience, works better than any advertisement ever will. I believe getting started with local press can lay an amazing foundation as your company grows and prepares you for bigger press opportunities.
When you become the person known for your expertise on a certain topic to the press, you’ll be the first person they think of. That’s your goal. Here’s how to do it:
Change Your View
Because Chic CEO’s blog was so well read, and I write for Forbes, I get pitched a lot of stories. 99% of them are for topics or things that you, my reader, don’t care about. Things like “ABC company moved into a new building” or “XYZ company has upgraded their internet.” You wouldn’t believe some of the pitches that come my way. What are they doing wrong? They are talking about themselves.
If you want your company to be featured in the press, you cannot talk about yourself. Counterintuitive, I know, but also very true. You must be providing value to the reader/listener/viewer, no matter what. Telling someone you moved into a new building is not news, nor is it valuable to a reporter or to readers.
Everything you do must provide value to readers/reporters. They must be able to learn something from your segment/article. This is the lens you must use to view press coverage.
Piggyback National News
The fastest way to “get in” is to piggy back off of national news. If something big is happening in the world, and you can lend your professional opinion to it – pitch it. For example, it will be Valentine’s Day in a few days, and perhaps you are a health coach. You can pitch to the local news stations 5 Decadent Treats to Give Your Valentine That Are Healthy. You know that they are looking for small segments of interesting, feel good information that are relevant to Valentine’s Day. Pitch it.
If you are a graphic designer, pitch “3 Ways To Create Your Own Valentine’s Day Card” to the local stations. If you are a local shop owner, pitch “7 Local Gifts To Give Your Sweetie” (this one is great, because if you have local vendors, they get a bit of press too. Who doesn’t love that?!?)
Whatever is going on in the world, if you have a unique spin on it, pitch it. Again, lead with value – the reader/viewer/listener must learn something from you.
Pitch Your Expertise
When you are making a pitch, be sure to let them know that you are a health coach, graphic designer, local business owner and can speak on this topic anytime they need you. Give them a few sample ideas of ways you can be of service. If the local schools revise their lunch menu, let them know you are available to give commentary on these changes. If there is a recall on a food item (locally, or nationally) let them know that you can provide copy cat recipes with some clever substitutions. If there are new business regulations passed in your county, let them know that as a local business owner you can speak to how it will affect other local businesses.
Help the news stations look at you as a resource for their pieces. Someone they can rely upon who can speak intelligently and provide clever insights to their audience. If you help them entertain and educate their audience, you will be remembered.
Respond lightening fast.
Don’t leave them hanging. When they ask if you are available – say yes and work it out. Move meetings, calls, etc. to be there or call in. Things move fast in media, you need to move just as fast.
Don’t let press happen to you and not be able to fully leverage it. Get your website updated, make sure your contact info is correct, and let people know on your website and social channels how they can work with you. You will get some traffic and some calls, don’t let these people go to an outdated website, a wrong number, bounced email address.
Pitch while traveling.
If you are headed to a tech conference in another town, call up some local stations and let them know that you have a company that helps women get businesses started (like Chic CEO) and that you’re available to comment on how many female CEO’s are attending and what the overall landscape for women in tech looks like there. There are lots of ways you can provide your commentary while traveling too.
You know there is a holiday almost every single month. Plan ahead and find something you can talk about around the subject and pitch it. Take some time to brainstorm ideas around each holiday, this is low hanging fruit!
February 12, 2019 at 02:19PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs