How can businesses leverage the media to boost their profile?

Alan Dinnie
Alan Dinnie
How can businesses leverage the media to boost their profile?

Working with the media can seem daunting to a new business, however, there are many benefits to utilising public relations to not only boost your business reputation but also build your subject-matter experts’ personal profiles and generate leads in your community.

The days of traditional media are dwindling, with print outlets moving online in many circumstances, however, the power of the media for businesses remains. This article will cover some key ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ when it comes to working with media to build your business and professional profile.

What are media or public relations outlets?

Media or public relations platforms are generally any credible news source that can be read by a consumer or specialist audience. Most businesses will be familiar with the typical media outlets from the national broadcast television and radio stations, to the state and national newspapers. There are also your local community newspapers, magazines and radio stations which focus on local, relevant content. This is where most businesses should start. These outlets provide great opportunities for profile building and establishing yourself as a subject-matter expert. As a local business, you should spend some time getting to know your local journalists. Many of these can be contacted either online or via your phone when you grab a copy of the local newspaper or magazine dropped into the mailbox.

The opportunities in 2020 are endless, with new online outlets popping up regularly. Your local news outlets will also help you connect with your local community – the mums, dads and businesspeople who will be interested in your product or service.

What are the opportunities in media?

There are several key opportunities for businesses looking to have their content published for a consumer and general audience. For the purpose of this article, we will keep this focused on opportunities you can grasp in your local area or state.

Breaking news – if you are at the forefront of your industry, launching an innovative/one-off product or platform or have received Government funding. This is breaking news and you can pitch this to most general news outlets as well as those specific to your industry (think business, technology, finance and the like dependent on your business). Your local newspaper, magazine or radio station will also be excited to share news of a local business doing great things!

Subject specific – if you wish to share some key knowledge as a subject-matter expert that could assist consumers or the general public. This is usually not pitched as a sales’ piece or advertisement (big no-no!), but rather as an informative and educational piece with your name (and your company’s) on it. Speak to your local journalists about what content their readers enjoy or what is a ‘hot topic’. The more you speak with your local journalists, the more they will think of you when the time is right. Also, don’t forget your local radio station which may have hours to fill in breakfast, drive and night programs as well as talkback segments.

Thought leadership – being the ‘go-to’ for journalists is established when you are seen as a thought leader. This takes time; however, you can start becoming this person by contributing subject specific content and offering your personal expertise to topics that are prevalent in the media. It is also about relationship building with your local editors and journalists – you can find their contact details on their website or in the physical publications. You can also do this through submitting opinion editorials for consideration.

A key tip when you receive positive coverage, is to share it via your website and social media channels. This boosts your credibility in the eyes of your audience when they see you published.

What shouldn’t you do in public relations?

There are some key ‘no-no’s’ when it comes to doing your own public relations at a local level (when starting off, it’s advised to gain some advice from a public relations consultant so you can establish your brand and target audience.)

Do not be a pest – be careful to not send the same journalist multiple stories or emails if they are not interested. The key is building an ongoing relationship, not pestering them until they run one story and then no more.

Keep public relations and advertising separate – public relations is not advertising. You need to be careful to keep your message to the point and keep ‘sales’ talk or call to actions out of your public relations’ pieces. Stick to the subject matter and building your brand.

These key tips will assist you in formulating your public relations plan and identifying your target audience for media. Likely, this is more local as you build your business and you can achieve much with simple relationship building. You can then go onto draft your own press releases (for breaking news) or pitch your own story angles. More about this in future blogs.

Lastly, do not panic when dealing with the media. If your story is good and you have a key piece of information or advice to share with the public, you will be able to get a journalist across the line to publish you.

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