Stay Visible to the Press


Small Biz Survival weekly marketing tip written and distributed by Sharron Senter
of Senter & Associates





I want to share with you an awesome publicity opportunity that just
happened to me, followed by a “Moral of the Story.” I think we all
need to be reminded to call up the media and pitch our businesses,
even if you did it last week. There are tons of publications in
addition to the two or three that serve your town that need your news.

My partner, Harold Belbin, and I just launched a new business called
Visiting Geeks, http://www.visitinggeeks.com — an on
site computer repair, firewall and networking company for businesses and power home users located north of Boston, southern NH and ME.

Just last week we started a limited advertising campaign by running a
small retail ad in the north edition of the Boston Globe. The VERY
next day, we received a call from our local newspaper’s business
reporter asking if we were available for an interview. Of course we
were and landed on the front page of yesterday’s business section
with TWO photos; one of Harold standing with his computer tool bag in
front of his car with our company sign on it. The sign has our URL
and phone number which was easily readable in the newspaper. The
second photo was of our two-year-old daughter inside our home. She
was playing with “daddy’s tools” that he uses to repair and network
computers. The story ran the entire top fold, and two inches beyond
the fold on the front page of the business section in The Daily News
of Newburyport, Mass.

MORAL: This pleasant surprise reminds me of the basic rule of
publicity; introduce yourself and ask! When we asked the reporter how
she heard about us, since we hadn’t yet had the opportunity to pitch
ourselves, she said she saw our print ad! What’s more, when the
photographer showed up to take the photo, he let it slip that they
were back against the wall trying to find a business story for
Monday’s paper. Reporters NEED an ongoing supply of stories,
particularly small town local newspapers, since they’re limited to
writing about local news.

Here’s a short list of alternative papers to pitch your business to:

– Monthly tabloid parent publications – often pull-outs of larger
newspapers or free at newsstands

– College newspapers

– Weekly town newspapers

– Regional magazines. For example, in my neck of the woods we have,
Boston Magazine. It’s an upscale four-color glossy that has a very
edgy news angle attracting a readership of men/women, 35 +, combined
income of $100,000+. Most regional magazines fall under this
demographic description. If this demographic matches your audience,
then it makes sense for you to pitch your news to your regional
publication.

Two other quick tips….

– In most instances for newspapers, it’s better to contact the
reporter than the editor. It’s the reporter who is ultimately
responsible for generating news and writing the story.

– Should you call, email or snail mail a reporter? If you have HARD
news [breaking news], something extremely timely – then call. If
you’re going after a feature story, then pitch via email. My answers
here are personal choice and what works for me.

P.S….When I was a reporter years ago for a daily newspaper, I found
myself desperate for stories the two weeks surrounding Christmas and
New Years. Pitch away!!

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Written by Sharron Senter. I specialize in helping small & home-based businesses make more money while spending very little, and I advise big businesses on how to effectively reach and communicate with their small business customers. http://www.sharronsenter.com — (978) 346-4086