Many companies choose to advertise in some form or other. Here are some suggestions for getting media coverage for your company.
Clearly, a one minute prime-time television advert will reach a large audience, but will also cost a great deal. Conversely, a few lines tucked away on an inside page of your local newspaper might only be read by a few people, but the cost would be much less than that of the television advert.
It is up to individual companies to decide how much to spend on advertising, and where to advertise, and there are of course many ways of advertising your company in between the two extreme examples mentioned here. Depending on the nature of your company, trade publications might be a good way of getting value for money, as you then know your advert will be seen by likely purchasers.
However, in certain circumstances it may be possible to advertise your company for free via a press release. Remember however that newspapers and magazines report news items, and that therefore a press release which consists of little more than a description of your product/service offering is unlikely to be published. Your press release actually needs to contain some form of news about your company, so it might for example announce any of the following:
- Excellent financial results
- Securing a major new client or new contract – ensure the client gives their permission for this to be made public first
- Re-location plans
- Major expansion plans
- Securing investment or funding
- A new product/service launch – the more innovative the better
- Key staff appointments – via internal promotions or external recruitment
- Awards for your company or your staff
- One of your staff speaking at an industry conference or similar
- A company anniversary
- Results of market research or surveys your company has commissioned
- Involvement in community or charitable projects
When writing your press release, consider the following:
- Ensure it clearly and concisely conveys the news you are announcing, and why this should make people want to do business with you. A press release should not exceed two pages. The length of the release is a difficult balancing act – it needs to be long enough to get the key points across, but the shorter it is, the more chance there is that the publication will include it
- Include quotes from yourself or another key person within your company, to convey how excited you are about the announcement you are making
- Conclude the press release with an ‘About your company’ section, which should summarise your products/services and provide your company contact details, the contact details of at least one named individual who can handle press enquiries about the topic, and your website address
- Is it appropriate to include pictures? If so, ensure these are of a sufficiently high definition to be published
- Write in the third person – do not use ‘I’ or ‘we’ when talking about your company
- Ensure the email on which you send your press release has a subject line that summarises the news you are announcing. Editors report that many messages they receive simply have ‘press release’ as the subject, with little clue as to the subject matter or the company sending it
Before you distribute your press release, decide who to send it to, whether this is national media, local media, trade media or a combination of these. Make a phone call to the publication to find out who to send it to and the best email address to contact them on. For example a newspaper might have a specialist business editor or business desk, and it is far better if the release is sent direct to them rather than to the general newsdesk email. Furthermore, your release is more likely to be published if the editor is expecting to receive it, rather than if it just arrives unannounced in their inbox.
Establish a reputation as an expert
Once you have established a media presence, it may be possible for you to build a reputation as an expert in your field. You may then find that the media, especially trade media, see you as their ‘go to person’ whenever they want an expert comment on a particular industry development. When they then publish your comments, it will usually be accompanied by your name, the name of your company and your position in the company – more free advertising.
Remember also that the term ‘media’ includes the internet, as well as traditional outlets such as TV, radio and print media. Here you have much greater control over how much coverage you receive, assuming your company already has its own website and/or social media accounts.
Designing and hosting a company website costs a certain amount, but it may well be the case that these costs can be recouped once a small number of extra customers have heard about you via the website.
Have you thought about writing a blog about your industry? Even a simple diary of brief comments about industry and product/service developments could greatly improve your company’s online presence
Consider also whether you can make announcements via social media. These might concern: new product or service offerings, special offers and discounts, company events and news of key staff appointments. These messages can include pictures, videos and the like. But don’t just post messages and leave it at that, instead start replying and interacting with contributors.
Remember though that there are laws regarding content of marketing material, and in some cases your industry regulator may have its own rules in this area. Social media announcements must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. As well as complying with specific regulations, please also remember that the internet is a broadcasting medium just as much as TV or radio is. So if there is something you would feel uncomfortable about saying were you lucky enough to get an appearance on TV, then don’t say it over the internet or social media either.
Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us?
An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.