Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from previous contributor, Mariah Danielsen. Mariah is an award-winning graphic designer and marketer who discovered that she could build a business around what she loves: weddings, stationery, antiques and DIY projects. She is the owner of Oh, What Love and a small antique store in her hometown, and co-created The Create + Connect Project, a program that helps creative entrepreneurs turn their passion into profit. Today she offers some guidance on how to get the attention of your community and promote your business through your local press. Thanks Mariah for another wonderful post! —Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump…
Being well-known online is a wonderful thing, but when your business relies on local customers, having 15 thousand followers on Twitter might not matter if only a few of them live in the same city you do.
One of the best ways to reach local customers is to get featured in the local media outlets because most people watch the news or read the newspaper – whether online or offline – to find out what’s happening in the area. But paying for tv spots and big ads are not always in the budget for a small business.
As a small business owner with a brick and mortar store, getting local people to know where we are located is key to our survival. We’ve found a few great ways to get news interviews and newspaper features – all for free.
Here are some ways to accomplish this:
1. Pitch a feature on your business to your local talk show.
Almost every area has a local Oprah-type talk show personality that talks about fun local happenings, shares feel good stories and does interviews with local business owners or celebrities. These shows are always looking for new and unique content, different businesses to feature or people to partner with.
In order to get your business featured on this type of show, you’ll need to figure out what your hook is – the one thing that makes you different that other businesses like yours. Maybe you support a cause, have a great back story or have a product with a unique twist. Once you find out where to submit your story on their website, come up with a few story ideas and send in your pitch. Make sure to include your ideas, how you’re different and how you can be contacted. If they find your story compelling enough to feature – be ready for a boost in business!
How it worked for me: I wrote to our local talk show about how we were an antique store with a bright, clean layout that was trying to cater to a younger generation. From that pitch we received a 4 minute segment on the afternoon show where the host plugged an upcoming event of ours. Not only did we have one of our busiest weekends to date after that show aired, our in-store event had four times the amount of normal attendees.
2. Submit to local event calendars and send out press releases.
If you have a business that does events of any kind, maximize your reach by submitting your event to your newspaper’s event calendar. Lots of newspapers have online calendars you can share your event details to, which will help get your event out to your city, the surrounding area and the all around the web.
Another way to get your event picked up by media outlets is to send out press releases to local newsrooms. Do a quick, two paragraph write-up on your event including a short quote about what’s going to take place and the important details of the day. About two weeks before your event, send it to any outlet that takes viewer or reader submitted news in your area. There is no guarantee it will get picked up, but if it intrigues them or if they have spaces to fill, your story may end up in the newspaper.
How it worked for me: I submit any parties I coordinate or classes I teach to my local event calendar and I send out press releases about the event as well. I usually reach people who I haven’t connected with before, which has the potential to bring even more people to future events.
3. Get involved with a local cause.
When you team up with other businesses or organizations to support an important issue or cause, you not only help your community, you and your cause may become important enough to end up as a news story.
How it worked for me: My shop is located in the old main street of my small hometown. The city is trying to revitalize the downtown to attract more businesses and customers, and my business partner and I wanted to get involved in helping with the vision. We voiced our opinions and shared our ideas at city council meetings, so when the local news caught wind of the revitalization project, we got a t.v. interview along with shots of our shop broadcasted on the 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 news. It boosted our in-store traffic and now our name is associated with helping revitalize our historic hometown.
Getting featured in the news doesn’t always have to be costly. Find ways your business is unique and share that with anyone you can. You never know what can come out of a simple pitch to your local media outlets!
Have you landed an awesome feature? Share your experience in the comments!