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Strategies for Small Businesses to Gain Local Media Coverage

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October 25,2012

By Dan Janal, Small Business PR Expert

Contrary to popular belief, traditional media coverage is still a piece of the PR puzzle - especially for the small business looking for local attention. Do you ever wonder why your competitors are covered in your local newspaper and TV while your small business is not? It’s probably because you didn’t ask to be covered.
Small businesses can get exposure in the local media – but you have to do your homework first. 
Follow these steps and you’ll have a good chance to be the toast of the town.
  1.  Become a consumer of local media. Read the newspapers. Scour the magazines. Listen to the radio. Turn on the TV. Watch shows you normally don’t watch so you can learn about all the opportunities out there. If you don’t know where to start, order a media list that shows you the names, phone numbers, emails and topics covered by reporters in your area. 
  2. Become a connoisseur of local media. You can’t tell your story to every reporter. Decide who the big fish are. Who has the largest audience? Who has the most targeted audience for your needs? What publications are your customers reading? That’s where you should take your first shot.
  3. Decide what they’d be interested in. The media care about one thing: being interesting to their readers. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What information can you share that they’d be interested in? Chances are they are not interested in your latest promotion, but they could be interested in knowing about real estate trends, how to get a job, how to have happier and healthier children and how to improve their relationships. If you can answer those questions, you’ll increase your chances of gaining their attention.
  4.  Frame your story. Now that you know what you want to talk about, put a 30-second cap on it. That might sound tough, but everyone tunes out after 30 seconds if you don’t get to the point. Listen to a news report on TV and count how long the stories are. Yes, they can tell a good story in less than a minute. You must be able to get your point across quickly, or reporters will tune out.
The simple steps above can help you to become a reporter’s best friend and get exposure for your company and even help with your business' branding.  
Once you get your name in the news, you should toot your results and tell the world. Ordering reprints and posting them in your store or putting them up on your website can be an extremely effective marketing tool. The power of media coverage is not just who sees your write up today, but who you can show the article to tomorrow and the day after and the year after. Garnering attention from the media never gets old!
Dan Janal, author of "Reporters Are Looking for YOU!" helps small businesses get publicity so they can sell more products. My clients get terrific results from my coaching, consulting, done-for-you services and do-it-yourself tools. For info, go to
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