At PR over Coffee, we dwell on the many ways a small business (or nonprofit) can boost its brand and profits with guerrilla, do-it-yourself PR tactics. To that end, here is a list of 10 ways you can get your small business in the local news in as little as 90 days:
- Ask a reporter out for coffee and let him or her know about some of the interesting new initiatives you are pursuing
- Look for national news trends and pitch a reporter on how your business is representative of that trend (e.g., offer to talk about how your business is implementing the Affordable Care Act; tell them how a government shut-down could impact your company and community; or talk about how you are embracing the “Farm-to-Market” movement by buying all of your ingredients within 100 miles of your community)
- Partner with a nonprofit: find a way to partner with a local nonprofit to get some attention for the nonprofits cause and how you’re encouraging innovative business partnerships
- Enter an industry competition: some community media outlets sponsor “Best Workplaces” or “Fastest 50 Private Business” awards; others sponsor industry competitions like office designs, or Addy awards, or barista and bartender competitions.
- National Days & Months: every day and month there is a celebration of something: “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” “National Ice Cream Day,” “National Bird Feeding Month,” even “National Cheeseburger Day.” Find a clever way to celebrate the special occasion and let the local TV news know about your plans in hopes of winning a studio interview or getting a film crew to come out to your event.
- Joint Event: one way to keep the cost low is to coordinate an event with another local business. For example, I worked with a premium olive oil retailer in Austin on a special dinner pairing of food from an Italian restaurant and unique oils and balsamic vinegars served with wines from a local winery. We got an interview for both businesses.
- Seasonal Offerings: be the first to hit the media with unique offerings related to the holidays. Ask a newspaper to include your offering in a list of items perfect for Mom’s on Mother’s Day, fun activities for kids over the Winter Holidays, etc.
- Hire somebody lately? Tell the local news about your recent new hires as they probably have a “People on the Move” section highlighting new employment and promotions.
- Offer your expert opinion: I was interviewed in Austin about Lance Armstrong’s interview by Oprah because I had a good relationship with the ABC News affiliate and they wanted a PR expert to talk about how the interview could help/hurt Armstrong. Reach out to the media when you see something important happening (nationally or locally) and offer to be an expert source.
- Launched a new business? Most media will cover a small business just because they launched, especially if you opened a bricks-and-mortar business like a restaurant, retail store, car wash, etc.
Many of these tips are proven PR tactics for small businesses. I have personally used many of them for myself and my clients to great effect. If you pick two or three from the list above and set a 90-day goal of purpose-driven PR, I promise you will find a media outlet interested in covering your latest news.
About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded an Austin tech PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009. Dave Manzer specializes in highly integrated PR & marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. To contact Dave directly about the PR over Coffee blog, please email him at dave(@)davemanzer.com.