Use Local, Small Business Public Relations to Boost Buzz

by Melanie Rembrandt, www.rembrandtwrites.com on March 7, 2011

If you are a new entrepreneur, one of the best ways
to start building buzz is with small business public relations
and contacting local media-members.

This way, you can practice your pitching skills
with a smaller venue and begin creating media
relationships to help your business grow.

But how do you start your small business
public relations efforts?

1.           Research.

First, you want to read the local publications and figure
out who writes about your industry or “beat.” Check out the
archived stories online and also look for appropriate
contact information.

If you don’t see a particular writer or reporter who
covers your particular area of expertise, contact the
managing editor or assignment editor. These editors are
usually in charge of assigning stories to various reporters.

2.           Practice.

What are you going to say?

Well, you could just pick up the phone and introduce yourself!

Tell the editor your area of expertise and the value you can provide
as a resource to that publication.

You can also pitch a story pertinent to the publication’s audience.

But with both of these methods, it’s essential to:

Offer valuable information that relates to the local community.

After all, that’s what the local publication is all about and
what the editor wants to hear!

For example, you can talk about how a national story or trend
relates to your business and the local community, provide a
case study about one of your local customers or offer an
original opinion-piece or article pertinent to the publication’s
editorial calendar.

3. Follow-Up.

After you introduce yourself to the appropriate media contact,
follow up with an e-mail or snail-mail letter. You want to remind them
what you have to offer their audience.

Remember to focus on their needs and how you can provide value.

And after your initial contact, you want to keep in touch with your new
media contact. On a monthly basis, send a note about a recent article in
the publication, provide information about an upcoming community event
or ask how you can help.

Most local media venues are tight on staff and cash so they will appreciate
your efforts.

Get Results.

By starting these simple, small business public relations activities, you
may end up with an immediate interview or a writing assignment. If not,
at least you will build a strong, working relationship with the local press
so they know who you are and what you have to offer.

Then, when it’s deadline time, and they need an expert
resource for an upcoming story, you’ll be at the top of their list.

And if you are a new business owner, this process can teach you how
to talk to the media at a low risk-level. After all, if you mess up
your pitch with a small, local publication, you can learn from
your mistakes and avoid them when you move on to bigger,
national media venues.

With this in mind, try contacting your local media venue within
the next week. It won’t cost you anything but time. Plus, you’ll
increase your pitching skills.

And who knows?

You may end up with a media clip that builds buzz about your products
and services, a new working relationship with the local press
and third-party credibility you simply can’t buy!

Have questions about boosting sales, awareness and credibility with
search engine optimization copywriting, social media strategy and public
relations? Write to me here or at www.rembrandtwrites.com.

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