In my two previous posts, I discussed six ways to market a service business:
- Develop a good website
- Use LinkedIn
- Consider Facebook
- Develop story ideas
- Track editorial calendars
- Capitalize on “opportunistic PR”
Here are two more time-tested techniques.
Develop effective visuals.
There is incredible competition for space in magazines and newspapers except for good visuals. Editors need photographs or illustrations to draw attention to the text, break up the page visually, and help tell the story. And the need for good visuals is as acute online as off.
Start a file of photographs or illustrations that catch your eye and tell a story. They may spark ideas when you need some inspiration.
If you’re planning to get a photograph taken, first sketch out what you want it to say.
Also consider infographics, diagrams, charts and the like, all of which can be incredibly effective. For example, a pharmaceutical firm developed a board-game-like diagram that illustrated the FDA approval cycle. I saw that illustration more than a decade ago, but still remember it because it was so effective.
You may not routinely have news, but you can “create news.” So hold a contest. Take a survey. Celebrate an anniversary. Announce a list.
Depending on the type of news you create, you may have several publicity opportunities:
- Announcing the contest, event and the like.
- Reminding people of the deadline or event date.
- Announcing the list, or the contest results and winners.
- Inviting the media to the event.
- Providing pictures to the media.
Write letters to the editor and editorials.
One of the most obvious—and often overlooked—opportunity is a letter to the editor. It’s a standing joke in some editorial circles that the best writing is in the letter to the editor section. That popular section is often better read than many other sections.
One important item: you have the best chance for pick-up if you tie the letter directly into the news or a recent article, and submit your letter in a timely manner.
Another good outlet is a guest editorial. Most newspapers use editorials, as do many business journals, some magazines and some online publications. You can submit an abstract (a paragraph describing your idea) first, but usually publications want to see the finished editorial.
I hope by now you see that, although success is not automatic, it is possible to market a service business. Try some of these ideas and let me know your results.