Is your story strong enough?
Updated: Apr 5
To gain coverage in magazines, newspapers or online is a precious thing. However, you need to make sure your small business story is strong enough to pique your chosen journalists' interest.
For small business owners, this can be difficult as they often do not have a flood of news to tap into. So, how can you make sure your story is right for your chosen journalists and target audience?
As a freelance PR, the most common requests I get from business owners are to share:
News around a new product or service. However, unless your new product or service is truly unique or disruptive in the marketplace, it is sadly unlikely to be of interest to a journalist. It makes sense to advertise your new product or service and, of course, write your own promotional content. Make sure you share it on your website, newsletters and social media.
Announce a new website. It is exciting to have a new website but, to be honest, it is not newsworthy for most journalists. Similar will apply to your latest re-brand or app. Even large companies struggle with gaining coverage for this type of news. However, all is not lost; you can share your information on your social media, website blog and in customer newsletters!
Announce winning an award. It's an incredible achievement to win an award and most business owners think that an award win will be of interest, but thousands of awards remain uncovered every year.
If your award ties in with a media partner, such as a local newspaper, then it is likely you will gain coverage with them, but very unlikely another media outlet will pick it up. Some award organisers will arrange coverage packages with their local media, so you might expect some coverage as part of that package.
Again, you can use your win to build credibility for your business by using the story and images on your website, on outgoing correspondence, such as your letterheads or emails, and, of course, on your social media. It obviously has about a year's mileage or until the following awards, but make sure you use it as much as you can in that timeline.
Business anniversaries. Let's say you may have been in business for 10 years. This is a huge success story for your business, but it has little legs just as an announcement! Why not work your anniversary into something more significant, say perhaps supporting a local charity and celebrate by building events and news around your new link-up.
So, what does work?
Be personal! Instead of trying to get journalists to write articles about your business, you need to pitch story ideas that allow you to show what it's about.
If your business has come out of your passion for making things better for others or having a strong view on a current subject, build your pitch around your own story and experiences.
Here are just a few examples:
Why not test your story
If you have an idea and what to test if it is strong enough, why not read through your ideal target publications or the work of your excellent journalist and see if they cover similar stories. Test your story against your own reading preferences – would you read about another company launching a new website? What do your colleagues think? Do they think your story is exciting enough?
Remember, journalists and editors are looking for unique, topical stories that are relevant to their audience and will entice them to read their publications.
If you have a strong business story, but are not quite sure how to pitch it to journalists, then I am happy to help. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.