They say there is no such thing as bad publicity – that’s not necessarily true, as many people in the public eye will tell you. However, it’s certainly the case that putting your organisation or business in the public domain is rarely a bad thing, as long as it’s handled well.
In print, on a website or through social media channels, getting positive articles about your business out to a wider audience is one of the most cost-efficient ways to raise your profile. Here are steps to take to get your business featured in a news publication.
Find the right publication advertising space
It’s still true to say that the easiest way to get your business featured in a print publication is to buy advertising space. There was a time when this was pretty much the only way to feature in a printed newspaper or magazine.
The business ‘bought’ a page or part of a page in a publication and filled it with an advert that was, ideally, both eye-catching and informative. For the most part, the rest of the publication was filled by the editorial team and advertisers had little or no say in what else was being included.
There’s been a shift in recent years to paid-for content – and that suits both sides. The publisher keeps the revenue coming in, but the advertiser gets added value in terms of getting a message across. Space that would once have been simply artwork can now be an interesting read combined with professionally taken photographs, put together in an article that both catches the eye and provides a platform to explain more about the business than an advert ever could.
It keeps the reader engaged for longer, which is good for both the advertiser and publisher. The longer a reader spends browsing a print publication or website, the more likely they are to return to that platform next time a copy lands on their desk or they get an email directing them to something that might be of interest. So maybe you’ll want to take space next time, too.
Have a compelling story
Arousing the interest of the press has always been a good way to get free publicity. That’s even more the case today. Local newspapers not only have space to fill in a print publication, they also have rolling news websites that benefit from being constantly refreshed.
Despite the increased opportunities, your chances of getting published are still better if you’ve got an interesting tale to tell. When putting ideas for stories forward to their editors, journalists are told to ‘find a peg to hang it on’. It’s good advice – it basically means that you need a reason to tell the story.
The fact that you make widgets is not a news story. The fact that you’ve just made your millionth widget, or that the business has been making widgets for 50 years, or that you’ve just made a widget for Lewis Hamilton, certainly is. Telling everyone about your fantastic sales relationship (albeit just one widget) to Mr Hamilton gets you in there, after that, you’ll have another couple of hundred words to tell readers more about you, your business and what you do.
Get help from a professional
It’s always worth starting by contacting a publication directly. If it’s a good enough story, they might well ask one of their team to take some details and write the article for you. It won’t cost you anything and it will be written in the style the publication is looking for. That might be a journalist in a newspaper or at a trade magazine or website.
It could be that you’d rather have something prepared that you can send out to multiple publications. In this case, ask around for recommendations for a good PR person. You’ll have to pay for their services, but their knowledge of both how to write a press release and how to get space on the platforms that work best for their client is well worth tapping into.
Where you want to guarantee that your story will be published in a particular publication, in print or online, paying for space is an affordable way to ensure good coverage. The chances are you will be offered the services of a writer and a photographer so that the space you’re paying for looks good and does exactly what you want it to do. That is, after all, what both the business and the publication is looking for.
Most publications simply want good, relevant content that will be of interest to their readers. Knowing how to take advantage of that is the best way to share your business story with the widest audience.