In my previous post, I covered three ways to market a service business:
- Develop a good website
- Use LinkedIn
- Consider Facebook.
Here are three more time-tested techniques.
Develop story ideas
Developing story ideas can be an effective way to ingratiate yourself with the media. Face it. Reporters are typically overworked and underpaid. They appreciate it when someone does some of their work for them.
Develop a few ideas so if the reporter doesn’t like the first one, you can suggest another story. “How to’s” are often good, as are stories about trends and personalities.
For example, for a physical therapy client, I pitched a story on back pain: its causes, prevention and treatment. I researched some statistics and outlined potential questions. The pitch was successful; my client was interviewed for an hour on the largest radio station West of the Mississippi.
Track editorial calendars.
An editorial calendar is a schedule of the topics a publication plans to cover over a period of time. You can often find this information on the publication’s website, usually in the advertising or media kit section.
Research the editorial calendars of publications that are most important to you. Then prepare your own summary calendar with the:
- Publication’s name
- Articles you are interested in
- Section where the topic is scheduled to appear (e.g., cover story) and
- Issue date.
Contact the editor of a monthly publication about five months before the publication date, about two to three months for a weekly publication. (You may be early, but better early than late.) Editorial calendars change frequently. Topics get deleted, moved or changed. By contacting the editors early, you’ll be better able to track things.
Often the editorial calendar just lists topics (e.g., “widgets”), not story angles (e.g., “the growing importance of widgets in medical imaging”). Most editors like getting story angles from readers, so develop a few ideas and contact the editors. If they do not have a specific angle in mind, present your ideas. If the publication takes contributed articles, offer to write the feature. Otherwise, offer to be a source of information for the article.
I have successfully maintained PR programs for clients based almost exclusively on “working” the editorial calendars. You can do the same.
Capitalize on “opportunistic PR.”
When working with editorial calendars, you’re working with planned articles. However, unplanned events can also be publicity opportunities.
So contact editors whenever a news event might impact your business. For example, anytime a major new computer virus is announced, representatives from Symantec, McAfee and other anti-virus software makers get quoted in the articles.
What type of event would give you that same opportunity?
I’ll give two more techniques in my next post.