Ever wonder how small businesses end up on the local news? Wondering why the media has never asked for your opinion? Well, you’ll have to keep waiting since the media rarely comes calling – unless they are looking for advertising dollars. Take heed, there are ways to publicize your company, and get your name in front of thousands of viewers who are definitely influenced by what they see in the media. And, listen up, these methods are FREE!
Here are seven ideas to get you thinking like a publicity pro, or at least get you out of your marketing rut:
• “Become THE Local Expert”
One of the best marketing tools is expertise. To establish expertise with the media, you need to communicate to them, let them know your experience is on par with your advice. Whether this means you sending a note to the editor in reaction to a story, or if you have a story tip for them, you will slowly make a name for yourself as a local cleaning expert. Remember to take advantage of every opportunity, and continuously position you and your company as the local cleaning expert that the news should come to. This takes time and effort, but is worth thousands of advertising dollars in the long run.
• “Sounds Weird, But It Works!”
The media loves a good story, especially one that catches the eye and ear quickly. That is why many media stories focus around strange tactics. If you know a unique solution to a cleaning problem, call or email your local evening news. On a slow news-night, they might decide your “strange brew” is worthy of airtime.
• “Greatest Employee Reward”
Every company has members of its staff that are special. If one of your employees has had a unique experience, or is worthy of a serious pat on the back, contact your local media and see if they can put together a “shadow” story on you rewarding your employee. Suggest partnering with a local hair salon or spa to pamper the unknowing employee. Not only will your employee be surprised, you’ll get valuable airtime and respect from your community as being a thoughtful employer.
• “Extreme Cleaning Makeover”
Partnering with non-profits and charities is a great way to publicize the cause, but also to show the goodwill of your local business. Choose your favorite local charity, and offer to deep clean or makeover their business space. Contact a local newspaper or variety show, offering them an “exclusive” story on the makeover. Get all of your employees involved, and do what you say you’ll do. Doesn’t it feel good?
• “Reach Out & Get Recognized”
Spend an hour researching local awards, such as Mayor’s and small business innovation awards, and submit your company. Awards are an extremely valuable tool to establish instant credibility, reliability and community recognition. If you do win, talk with the communications representative from the awarding organization and offer to provide a press quote. They will be doing the legwork for press outreach, and your company will stand out in the story and will likely be contacted by the media for further comment. Once you’ve won, you can use this information in all of your marketing materials for added credibility.
• “Partnering for Success”
Becoming a press reference for a partnering organization, vendor, or local business group is an easy way to get in front of the press, without having to invest in the time it takes to contact the media yourself. Brainstorm the partners you enjoy working with, like your credit card company, your bank, your insurance company, or even the newspaper you advertise in! If you’ve had a good experience with them, call their marketing department and offer your story for a testimonial ad or press reference. If they agree, they’ll likely write a case study or use your company in an advertisement. All you’ll have to do is work on your end of the story and smile for the camera.
• “Great Client? Great Story!”
If you have a client who absolutely raves about your services, ask them if they’d be willing to be a press reference, or if they’d be willing to share their story publicly. If you’ve tackled a common problem together and prevailed, or if you came to the rescue and won their gratitude, submit those stories to your local news as a refreshing human interest story with a local angle. Ask the news producer if they can run a screen shot of your company name and phone number at the end of the story, so other viewers can contact you if they have a similar problem or circumstance. If they say no, ask if your contact information can be included in the online version of the story.
Generate story ideas of your own and see what rises to the top. You can get the entire company involved by beginning or ending a company meeting with this exercise. Encouraging creativity is a great motivator for anyone, particularly if it leads to free publicity!