Small business owners and home-based business have to be constantly looking for new leads and prospects to increase their chance to survive and grow their business in such hectic times.
Statistics show that small business are responsible for about half of the employment rate and still counting in the United States, but also state that these business need to develop managerial skills to get more business to come to them with consistency.
One step towards generating more leads and business is to be published. An article about you in the magazine or your local newspaper can bring you business and make people talk about you, and it has more value than an ad that you pay for.
The old adage Publish or Perish has special value to the small business owners. Don t confuse though advertising with publicity: advertise is the process of paying to place and ad in the media to generate more sales; publicity is the process of being published by media without paying for it, that is: they want to write about you because it is their interest. The latter is the best for you because the readers perceive published news as valuable and give more creditability to it.
Editors and publishers are always looking for new stories to illustrate their publications, and with that in mind you have a chance to be noticed and picked to be published if you follow their needs. Think: what do they need? What is a good story or idea? The answer is that whatever you want to say for the press has to be compelling and interesting enough that they want to write about it.
Your story, or the news you may provide, has to have the journalistic thought behind it and answer the questions who, where, when, what, why, how. It also has to set yourself apart with something different you achieved, or unique you produced, or a prize received, a book published, etc.
Likewise, the format and packaging needs to provide the necessary information that can facilitate the media to call you for an interview in order to create the article they will publish.
Before sending your pres kit to the media, remember to have a consistent visual identity in all your marketing material, with a logo if you can. You want your name to be remarkable and you never have a second chance to make a first impression.
What to Include in Your Press Kit
The following points are a checklist of what should be included in a press kit to increase your chances of publicity:
Write a biographical profile about you.
It needs to be to the point, brief, state your experience and expertise. If you had any other article or picture published, mention. The same is valid for received prizes and special events (seminars, workshops) you’ve been in or taught recently.
Describe the benefits of your product or service.
If in the service business, you might want to write about what you try to achieve in providing the service you offer to your clients. If in the product business, you can describe the focus of your goods (always stating the benefits, not the features) or your line of products, and enclose a sample of your product in the press kit.
Write down about the history of your company and its description.
You can include the personal principles that lie behind the company to add moral value.
Include any previous articles written about you and some testimonial quotes your clients may have written.
Mention any highlight of your company such as a TV interview or radio broadcast, talk show, workshop or course you’ve offered and so on.
Add a professionally taken photograph.
At least 2: a headshot of yourself and a photograph of your products and services. Adding a professionally taken photograph will greatly increase your chances of being published, given that the editorial market praises professionalism in the materials submitted to them. Have some extra pictures for additional press kits ready to be sent in case other publications are interested in your idea or story. Glossy, 8×10 photographs are the standard for press kits, together with captions in a printed label, behind the picture, describing it. Something similar to Mr. X, in his office, Miami (FL), receiving the 2014 publishers award, last month.
Create a presentation folder to enclose all the materials of your press kit.
Make it stand out by a different size, color or format, but matching your style and visual identity.
Write a letter to accompany your news release.
Address it to the editor or publisher by their names (get their names first!) with the idea or story you are able to generate for their publication.
Have your story start with an attention grabber followed by the text.
Remember that you are releasing valuable information that may be useful to the editor, not an ad for your company.
Use your letterhead and include your contact name and phone, date to be released – or the standard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE and your story immediately below.
Don’t just deliver or send the press kit, be sure to connect with the writer or editor.
Deliver your press kit/story by hand instead of mail, if possible.
Follow up with a phone call in a week from delivery to check if it reached the right person, to whom you addressed it and ask if there is any further information you can add. The follow up phone call is a key display for you: it opens doors to establish rapport with your editor/publisher even if your news is not picked for being published. It also reminds them, in case they haven t looked at it yet, and gives you the opportunity to be nice and helpful.
Good causes can be good publicity
When creating the story/news to be released, remember that every time you do something for your community, you can create publicity. Be careful though that you’re not doing the good deed just to get good publicity (others will see through the deception and can backfire on you). People have empathy with the good causes . Let them know anytime you donate time, money or associate with some other business in favor of a non-profit organization.
There’s more than one channel
Last, but not least, understand that just because some news have not been published in one media does not mean others can’t publish it. You can send the same information to other publications and see if they would be interested. The more consistent and persistent you are in trying to be published by offering the press valuable information, the more likely you will be. Keep trying!
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