Media is one of the best ways put your business in the public spotlight. People tend to trust news more than advertising, and usually, there’s something in it for the reader—education, entertainment or community knowledge, for instance.
But if you want to strategically plug your company’s name in the paper, you first have to have a story. After all, this isn’t advertising. There’s no pay-to-play in public relations and reporters are smart people. They can intuitively detect when you have something meaningful to say that’s relevant to their readers versus when you’re just looking for a quick “in.” That is, they need more than the fact that your company exists and “hey, isn’t that awesome enough?”
Digging for stories about your company isn’t always easy—especially for stories that matter to the media. (Find out what reporters are looking for here.) So here are some ways to get the wheels turning and the story ideas flowing:
- Dig into your data. Do you know what your numbers say about your business? If you don’t, find out. There could be a story hiding in the figures. For instance, if your company grew 127 percent over last year, that’s a story! Did you sell 60,000 widgets last month and 6 million widgets this month? Good night, please don’t let that go unnoticed.
- Look at your big wins. Maybe you’ve landed a Fortune 500 client or you’ve been awarded rock-star status in your industry. Your business’ major victories give you news leverage. Use it!
- Probe what’s changed over time. Think about where your company started and where it stands today. Have you overhauled your game plan to fit market demand? Did you come up with an innovative strategy to address customer needs? Maybe you created a vibrant company culture to keep top talent. Think about how your history speaks to the business community—there could be a story in there.
- Find your voice. I’m always impressed when I think about the collective IQ of our clients. We work with incredibly smart people who are leaders in their field. If you have expertise in your industry, use that to become a thought leader. Lend your voice to issues in the community and trends in your industry so that others can learn from your experience and knowledge. Bylined columns are excellent ways to do this.
- Do something! When in doubt—do. Hold an event, develop a new product, hire someone, bestow an award or host a seminar. These actions may be newsworthy enough to grab the attention of a reporter.
- Newsjack. The news cycle spins 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If breaking news is relevant to your business in some way, shape or form, newsjack that sucker and get in the conversation. It could be an opportunity for your exec to pen an op-ed or provide background information and commentary for a reporter looking for a new angle to the story.
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