If you are relatively new to the cyberspace world, and have just put your business on the web, you may be wondering how you can involve the media in your online business and draw them to your site on a consistent basis. Where do you start when attempting to become overwhelmingly appealing to the media at large?
Why Not Turn the Tables?
Instead of sitting back and waiting for the media to come to you, why not go to them first? Ask the editor of your local newspaper if you can interview him or her for your website or blog on a topic which is relevant to your site or niche. Even better, be exceptionally brave and approach the editor of a larger national magazine or newspaper for an interview, creating interest in your site and your business.
If the media becomes interested in your site, your product or what you have to say, they may ask to be added to your distribution lists which will enable them to be kept apprised of new developments, new products or new information you share on your site. Once you have established a relationship with a member of the media, provide them with several links to your best work and ask if they would like to be added to your list. What this means is that every time you write a new blog article, you are likely to get multiple media mentions from taking the initiative and approaching the media first.
Let Your Customers Be Part of the Process
When a member of the media profiles your site, they may want to include an interview with a customer of yours—a satisfied one, obviously. Speak to the customers you have in mind prior to the interview and ask if they would mind doing a little PR work for your business, and if they are comfortable being interviewed, photographed or even being on television. Then let the member of the media know that you have several customers who are willing to discuss their experiences with your company in person or via phone.
Build the Relationship Prior to Pitching an Idea
It’s important that you connect with members of the media several months in advance via Twitter, Facebook or other social media avenues before you jump right in and ask for media attention. Even though we are talking about internet business, you are still the real person behind the real business and these people must get to know you and to trust you before they will be willing to promote your business. Reporters often use Twitter to converse with the public, so keep up with these exchanges and respond to comments.
Read a reporter’s work on a regular basis, and comment favorably on a particular story he or she did. If you are at a charity event or chamber of commerce event and spot a reporter you are interested in having review your business, make a point of introducing yourself, but save the hard sell for later on down the road. Pleasant small talk is all that is necessary at this point, but do try to make a favorable impression. Write a blog posting on your blog which highlights a reporter’s story in a positive manner, then shoot them an e-mail, including the link.
Start small by scouting out your local publications which have smaller, but more targeted readerships. Often these publications are run by a handful of people, who will welcome the opportunity to have a guest column done by you, saving them the time of running down their own story. There are many more ways to make your site tantalizing to the media, but the tips above are a good way to begin.