The Proof Series #13: Media Mentions

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When starting a small business whether it be online or not, a quick and effective product marketing strategy is to contact your local media be that local radio, TV or newspaper and offer to provide valuable content for free. If you need a good example just look at what Richard Branson has achieved using this very tactic.

In most cases they are crying out for news worthy stories. The pay-off for you is that you can use this ‘media mention’ to leverage your online credibility.

So…

What It Is: Having you or your company mentioned in the media.  It can be as small as being quoted… to as big as a full profile piece.   No matter its size it’s valuable and can be leveraged.

Why It’s Powerful: When a media outlet of any sort (positively) mentions you or your company it adds massive credibility.  Most entrepreneurs recognize this – however, what they don’t realize is how simple it is to get in the media.

If you don’t believe me, let me explain how you can work your way in.

How To Do It: There’s no way I can explain every single tactic here – but let me give you three ideas you might not have thought of, then you can be creative and come up with some of your own and share the love by adding them in a comment below

1. Cultivate Relationships – Do you know WHO the journalists are that cover your market?  And more importantly, do they know YOU?  My guess is your answer to both is NO.

And that’s a big mistake.  You see,  a journalist needs expert opinion to boost the credibility and authority of their story especially when a deadline is bearing down on them. These are the times when they turn to their ready list of ‘experts’ to find the right pithy quote to give their story real ‘punch’.

Make sure that you are that expert. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Follow the media outlets that you think have a strong and respected voice…
  2. Identify the journalist(s) that cover your specialist subject
  3. Read/Listen to their stories…
  4. Reach out to them by blogging about a particularly good piece they’ve written and add your thoughts and appreciation. After you have done this a couple of times, call them and offer them a follow up piece.
  5. Keep in touch with them either directly or their favorite social media platform?
  6. Help out as much as possible and make yourself a useful source of data or research
  7. Eventually – you’ll get your chance …

2. Develop Interesting Angles or Hooks – As a respected source of information, you may get the opportunity to suggest an interesting story which adds to the conversation that they are having with their audience/readership. Just like everyone else, journalists always need valuable sources who can point them towards a good story.

You’ll be making their job easier and they’ll remember you for it, perhaps even by mentioning you  in their piece. Once this starts to happen other media outlets will take notice.

Your media strategy will begin to take on a life of its own and your ability to leverage these media mentions online will blossom.

The key is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself “where’s the interesting story here?”

3. Survey Your Customers– This will have 2 benefits.

  1. You’ll get to know them better and what keeps them awake at night
  2. You can use the results as the basis of  a story especially if they are surprising or unexpected.

What interesting surveys could you start conducting that would provide a good hook for a journalist?  Remember you have to get used to the fact that you will always, apparently, be getting the short end of the stick.

You can run the survey on your blog, email your list, or if it’s juicy enough run pay-per-click to the survey.  Try it… you’ll see.

The key is to make yourself a source of consistently good research and angles for stories especially when you’re starting a small business and don’t have the big bucks to develop a full-on product marketing strategy like the big brands.

Just make sure that you have a number of irons in the fire by building relationships with a number of journalists in different media. This will not be wasted effort, I assure you…

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Rory Ramsden