There are so many different ways to market your small business. Before committing to a certain channel or strategy, you must first determine if the choice has worked for businesses similar to your own. For more traditional businesses (retail stores, car dealerships, restaurants), one of the most effective types of marketing has been media attention. Being mentioned by a popular media outlet for your target audience has the potential to spread brand awareness just as powerfully as a highly expensive or complex campaign. But establishing relationships with these outlets is not easy. Just like any other intimidating business endeavor, you can avoid getting overwhelmed by starting from the very bottom and taking the appropriate steps.
No, you don’t need to hire a renowned publicist or do something outrageous just to stand out. The real work is done during the planning process, which ensures that you pursue the right outlets with the right tactics.
As different as they are, all media outlets want the same thing: To tell compelling stories. This is why step one for attracting media attention is developing your small business’s story, one that is undeniably worth sharing. You might be planning to launch (or have recently launched) a new, interesting product that your customers love so much that they are telling everyone they know about it. Or, you might be involved in some sort of charity or fund raiser for the community.
At this point in history, a topic that is on the mind of myriad small business customers is competition from online giants like Amazon. So, you might want to publicize a unique strategy that has allowed your business to prove the value of an in-person experience. Around the holidays, media outlets like to report how small business owners are planning to thwart the dominance of Ecommerce as well as how they have performed once the holidays are over. This could be a great opportunity to gain even more customers from a strategy you were intending to implement anyway.
You don’t want your pitch list to be too big, but it should certainly include media outlets from various channels. There’s podcasts, YouTube channels, or blogs that share your target audience. You should have a reason for pitching to them that goes well beyond “It’s popular” or “Lots of people have heard of it.” If you’re not sure where to start, think about media outlets that have covered your competitors. You can even ask other local business owners for suggestions, especially if they stand to capitalize on the influx of foot traffic. Sometimes, the best move is to talk to your friends and see which outlets they prefer. It is recommended to have at least 20 outlets on your final pitch list, though not too much more than that.
This part can get tricky. But before worrying about the message’s tone or diction, make sure you have fulfilled the basic ingredients of a pitch email. It should begin with a brief background about your business and its accomplishments. You can list some other outlets you’ve worked with or other forms of advertising that have been successful for you. Then, it’s time to pitch the story you’ve developed.
How convenient would it be if you could simply send the same email to everyone? Unfortunately, this is not the case, as it’s advised to personalize every pitch. Your inbox probably receives numerous pitch emails on a daily basis. Think about what gives these messages away as bulk pitches. Once you’ve composed a pitch template, the next step is to figure out what time to send them. It is generally recommended to send at least 2 pitches a day.
It is completely normal for a successful small business to pitch 30 media outlets and only hear back from one. But that doesn’t mean you should just give up on all the others. Media relationships are often not forged with a single email. The business leader has to follow up multiple times, which shows that you truly believe that the story you pitched is worthy of attention. You shouldn’t wait much longer than a week to follow up because by that point, the outlet will basically be hearing from you for the first time.
Business leaders who forego media attention are likely already overwhelmed with the amount of marketing they are doing. They might be worried about the risk they are taking with newer strategies like the notoriously expensive influencer marketing. If their business is seasonal, they might have been forced to suspend a campaign due to some sudden expenses that arose during the slow season.
Thanks to companies like United Capital Source, smaller or younger businesses don’t have to miss out on costly marketing opportunities solely because they might not generate substantial revenue right away. Many businesses, for example, have found success with marketing after outsourcing a private agency or hiring an in-house specialist. Companies like UCS offer several types of small business loans that can account for the cost of the marketing service as well as the tools involved. With a merchant cash advance or revenue based business loan, you wouldn’t have to make significant payments until sales volume starts to jump.
Working with UCS requires very little effort on behalf of the borrower. Our business loans are not handled by a computer algorithm, so you won’t have to worry about receiving a frighteningly inaccurate email that ruins your whole day. The point of additional business funding is for you to have more time in the day for things like pitching to media outlets. The more things you can get done every day, the more chances you have to make money.
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