They say all press is good press, but how do you go about getting said press in the first place? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we are going to teach you four great ways to get the media talking and get free press for your small business.

It may seem like hiring a fancy media relations agency is the only way to get media attention, but that is far from true. While agencies that specialize in media relations have their place, they are often out of budget for many small businesses and start-ups. Just because you don’t have the budget doesn’t mean you can’t get in front of the media. Here are four great ways to get press without breaking the bank.

1. Be a News Source

Oftentimes, when a reporter picks up a story that they are interested in, they begin searching for relevant sources or subject matter experts who can validate the story or add more colour to what they have. This is a great place to start. For example:

You own a skincare line, and a reporter is doing a story on the dry Alberta weather and how to combat that with your skincare – you would be the perfect source to jump in and touch on why adding oil to your regime can be the perfect dry-weather fighter! Or, you are a small restaurant that has taken advantage of the extra patio space from the city, and a reporter wants to do a story on adding patios to small businesses – there you are, the family-run restaurant that just added a big patio!

A lot of times, reporters will take to social media to find sources who can validate the stories they are working on – which takes us right into tip number two.

2. Interact with Reporters

With a little research, you can often find local reporters in your field that work in your city or town. You can figure this out by reading articles online and narrowing down if there are one or two reporters who cover topics that relate to your small business. From there, interact with them! Follow them on Twitter or Instagram, or send them an email introducing yourself as a small business owner in that field.

Business Owners

Once you follow them online, you can start replying to their tweets and engaging with their content. By doing this, you will become top of mind for them when they need a news source. Or, even better, they’ll think to contact you when they want to do a story on a local small business.

Similar to growing engagement on your social media channels, this can take time, but it can create a great return on investment when a reporter starts pumping up your small business!

3. Write Your Own Press Release

If you have something newsworthy happening, write your own press release! There is no rule that only agencies can pitch to the media – so why not advocate for your small business and pitch what you have going on. You can publish them on your website and social media and even pitch directly to the media. Most publications have their pitching email addresses right on their website, so do your research and pitch to the right place for the best chance at getting picked up.

Not sure how to write a press release? There are lots of great resources out there that can help you, including this HubSpot blog that will walk you through step-by-step.

Things to be cautious of:

  • Be sure you check your grammar and spelling – think of this as a job application. You want to make a good impression.
  • Don’t overpitch – nothing can get you blacklisted from media faster than sending too many press releases that aren’t newsworthy. Really think about what it is that you have going on before you decide to pitch. Would you want to see that story on the news? If not, then maybe save your pitch for another time.

4. Ask!

You must advocate for your business, and this sometimes means reaching out and asking for free press. Remember that relationship you were building with reporters? This is where it may come in handy. Having this pre-existing relationship will give you the leg up on other small businesses in your industry because the reporter has come to know you, even if it is through social media.

Marketing Your Small Business

Be sure to ask respectfully and acknowledge their time, keep it short and sweet, and include a captivating subject. If you can link it back to something the reporter has recently covered, that will only help your chances. Be sure to include relevant business information such as your business name, a link to your website, and a short description.

Don’t take it personally if the reporter isn’t covering your business when you reach out – if you keep things respectful you will come to mind when they are covering a story that your business might be perfect for.

Time to Start Pitching!

Getting press for your business can be a great tool to increase brand awareness, boost your credibility and help to build up your reputation in the community, best of all, it won’t break the bank! Happy pitching!

About the author: Kari Pedersen

Kari is a Marketing Coordinator at Business Link. She is passionate about the #YYCLocal community, helping clients transform their dreams into realities and creating successful collaborative relationships. While out of the office, she enjoys binging TV shows with her husband and their pup, Koko. Kari also enjoys shopping in East Village and exploring the Calgary coffee scene with friends, and Koko, along for the ride. Keep an eye out for her exploring other cities as she loves to travel as often as possible.