When you start a business, you are everything from the IT department and accountant, to customer service rep and shot caller. With the day-to-day responsibilities, many business owners forget to seek out more business through the mystical unicorn called publicity. An ominous, yet exciting term that for many feels out of grasp.
Shun the myths of publicity being about selling your product, because it does not mean advertising your promotions. Publicity is about positioning your self as a thought leader – the “go to person” in your market who seems to know everything about a specific topic. Becoming the “It Girl” of most industries is about making the time to actually sit down and express your views about what is happening in your industry and then sharing them. Here are five tips to begin that process:
Make a list of topics you could talk about for longer than 10 minutes
You want to know ahead of time what it is you feel comfortable talking about. Take a few minutes to think about what trends you are really passionate about and would be able to get through a 10-minute conversation.
Keep up with industry trends
Now that you have your list in mind, you will have to be devoted to becoming the “know-it-all” of the industry when it comes to these topics. You will need to seek out new information each week to sustain a current and thoughtful conversation.
Know who’s-who within your industry
Whether it is the CEO of the “it” company, or the new startup looking to enter, you need to know names and how they are individually influencing the market. The media is looking for someone that can be a correspondent on trends, not a salesman, so being able to hold a dialogue about competitors and their product is important.
Read the articles you would like to appear in
How do you know if you are a good fit for a particular reporter? First, do your research by uncovering the central themes they write about. Does this reporter conduct interviews often? Or do they use “experts” to establish a storyline? Do they outright feature a business and their product? Do they cover hard news or features? These types of questions are essential to understanding the best way to get your company featured. You certainly cannot build credibility by going to the wrong reporter.
Build relationships with reporters
Now that you know whom to target, begin building a relationship with these reporters. It can be as easy as following them on Twitter (because reporters still wholeheartedly love this social platform), or sending them an email about the awesome article they just published. Essentially, they are also human and are looking to build relationships, so treat them like any other friend you are wanting to get to know a little bit better.
Begin writing industry bylines
Not every publication will accept bylines, but as a small business it is the best way to establish your thoughts, skills and credibility within the industry. Send the articles out to the media outlets you know will accept them, if none are interested, publish them yourself via LinkedIn!
Since you have now established the topics you want to talk about, researched both your industry and the reporters who write about it, it is time to get out there and be the resource so many reporters are dying for. Seriously. There is a major lack of business leaders that are willing to sacrifice a few hours in their week to establish these relationships. Do the up front work to get you and your brand values out there. Follow these steps and hopefully reporters will come to you for their next great story!