Do you engage with the media – on or offline – in your business? Would you like to yet don’t really know where to look for a story? How can you change that for 2020?
If you do want some help then I’ve come up with 12 ways to find stories in your business. Follow these simple tips and you will see results.
I’ve chosen 12 as I often say to my clients that it’s best to share 12 stories over 12 months than try to squeeze it all into a short space of time.
This then ensures a consistent visibility and helps to bring a general marketing plan into sharp focus. Over 12 months you will start to realise your company is more visible, more recognisable and you are on the way to embracing practical public relations.
- Start with your diary – what are you planning for 2020 which could be a story? Are you moving office? Are you recruiting an apprentice? Do you have a staff member who is becoming fully qualified? Are you celebrating ten years in business? Try to find two things in your business plans which would make a story for the local media.
- Research and read local media – most businesses thrive by having clients who live locally. Where is the business news shared? Where do you see stories of local business wins? Could any of those relate to your business? If so, plan to tell that story and find out where to tell it. Aim for three media outlets for business news in your community or sector? Make a list, see where you fit in.
- Get professional photographs as often as you can – the better the photograph the more likely a story will be used. Don’t rely on your phone or tablet or the person at work who has a good camera. Take this seriously and get good images. Start to embrace video.
- Blog – share your expertise and/or that of your team by planning 12 blogs posts, once a month and decide where to place them. On your website? Or perhaps as an article on LinkedIn? Or can you do an expert post like this one?
- Look at what’s going on in the wider world – can you comment on a story which is happening anyway? The Budget for example. Some things happen each year and may be very relevant to your business. Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Easter? We call this ‘news-jacking’. Send your views or comments to the local media with this as the hook.
- Charity – embrace a ‘give back’ approach. Can you support a local charity for a year and do things to raise money. Set a reasonable target to work towards. This on its own should generate at least three stories – we’re going to support this charity, here’s an event where we raised some money, we’ve reached or exceeded our target.
- Consider advertorial – if you have a story and you know absolutely you want it to appear before a certain audience, plan to buy the space – that way you absolutely know the story will be seen.
- Social media – when you get results amplify them by sharing on social media and thank the media outlet for sharing your story. Then remind people of that story six months later and a year later. Make that story work hard for you.
- Think funny & quirky – anything which happens which is unexpected can go viral and make a news story. This might be around the first snow of the year, if your business is in a stately home or a quirky setting. Think unusual and positive.
- Look out for journalist requests – you can do this on Twitter – follow local journalists by name and check in to see what they are looking for. They often do shout outs and if it fits you or your business you are half way there just through a tweet.
- Don’t forget radio. It’s often forgotten yet is a powerful voice in most communities. Don’t be afraid to call your local community or BBC radio station to ask if there are opportunities for business owners to take part in programmes. Commercial radio tends not to have these opportunities.
- Sell – when you and your business become more visible there will be opportunities to sell. However if you have no sales process, no sales person – then all of the above is pointless. Get trained and understand what good customer service looks like and what to do once these opportunities start to come along.
Fiona Scott is a media consultant and qualified journalist with over 30 years' experience working in print, radio and tv, and in recent years digital media outlets. She's run her own consultancy for over a decade and works with companies of all sizes to tell their stories using words, pictures, animation and video.