When the media talks about you – that builds credibility, image and respect for you. Whether you call this promotion, public relations or publicity, remember two important points:
1. It is free. (Well nothing is free – you pay in time and effort.)
2. We believe more what others say about you. This is doubly so when it is the media that talks about you.
Follow this five-step proven process to get your name and message in the media. Free media exposure is yours to claim.
1. Target the media where you want to be seen
Of the three forms of traditional media print is the best. Clients might not have seen you on TV or heard you on radio. But when you are in print you can send them a photocopy. And we tend to put more credibility in what we see in print.
Be seen in the publications read by your prospects and clients. Ask your clients what they read or check the magazines in their lobby. Appearing in the national dailies may feel glamorous but does that help your business? All publicity helps. But focus your time and effort on where you get the biggest impact. That could be a community paper, association newsletter or an industry trade magazine. Trade and association publications tend to be read thoroughly. If you sell to hairdressers you should appear in “Hair Today”.
2. Build a Database
Start recording contact information about editors and reporters for the publications in which you might appear. Watch for publications that might be able to use your expertise. Pick up a copy and read it. Search for articles on your industry or area of expertise. Take note of writers whose style you enjoy. If you like their style it is because you are like them or would like to be. There is a good chance that they will also like you. So start with those you like. Setup your database in a computer program such as ACT, Maximizer or Goldmine. Create categories and follow-up schedules as detailed in Secrets of Power Marketing.
3. Make Contact
First contact – shall we dance? There is no right way but some work better than others. These worked best for me; call, introduce yourself and offer an article or interview, send a note of congratulations on an article they wrote or mail a post card from an exotic location, (sign your name clearly).
It may take awhile to build rapport. The media are just like customers. They are skeptical. Be persistent and consistent to be remembered. Be patient and realize that free media exposure is a long-term plan. I appeared on a TV station after two years of contact and follow-up. The news director finally stated. “George, your timing is impeccable, we need someone like you.” Now I ask you, “Why did it take two years for my timing to be impeccable?” If I had given up after 18 months I could have believed that it doesn’t work. It does – you just never know how long it will take.
Treat the media like hot prospects. Once you’ve made first contact never let them forget about you. Be in contact every two to three months. Call them, send them an article you wrote, call them, send a post card, ask to meet for lunch or coffee, send an news release, call, send a note about one of their articles…
The cycle is unending – until they or you go out of business. Don’t waste time. Keep your calls brief and to the point. Sometimes call when they are not there just to leave a short message on their voice mail. They must remember you when they need you, (George your timing is impeccable). Use a computer database to help track your contacts and remind you when to make next contact.
4. You appear in print
You would prefer to have them quote you as the expert or talk about your growing business. But, first the media must believe you are the expert. After they call you the expert you can quote the media as having called you the expert. It is a circular argument but it works because perception is reality.
Your second choice; write an article for publication. This must be informative and not advertising. Ask the publication for guidelines – word count and style. The simplest article to write is a tips list; the five myths about your business, the seven secrets of shopping for.., the 10 tips to getting value from your… Both editors and readers like tips lists.
The third way to get your name in the media is by writing a letter to the editor. Based on your expertise you agree with a previous article, disagree, or add another perspective.
After you appear in print send photocopies to your clients, prospects and media contacts so they begin to see you as the expert. The more publicity you get the easier it is to get more. It’s like money.
After you appear in a publication send the editor or reporter a personal thank you note, then go back to step 1, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Start all over again – and laugh at those who exclaim, “You are so lucky”.