Getting stuff for free or close to free is always tough. Working in / with the media industry for as long as I have, I can tell you right away, you’ll need to offer some VALUE in order to get publicity.
#1 thing to keep in mind – you’ll have to offer a media company something whether it’s your product, or a small chunk of change in order to be seen / heard.
Who to call or reach out to
You may be inclined to speak with a sales person or management when it comes to getting publicity. DON’T! Try to go to the bottom of the totem poll first as these people are usually underpaid, and under appreciated. If you fluff them with some of your product they’ll probably be willing to go the extra mile for you. Management, and some of the more senior personalities are more prone to turn you down, because throughout their career they’ve caught on to how the game works.
Here are some ways to get the word out about your product / service for next to nothing:
- Connect with a radio, TV or journalist by calling them, emailing them or reaching out to them through social media. Say you listen to them, watch them or read them on a regular basis (you probably should know a little bit about them before you reach out).
- Once you’ve connected, offer to drop off your product or meet in person to discuss your service. DO THIS IN PERSON. I can’t tell you how many meaningless press releases media companies get on a daily basis. Very rarely do companies show up in person to showcase their product / service. DON’T BE LAZY.
- If there is some resistance from the on-air personality, try contacting the promotions or marketing department. They may be able to help you out. You’ll probably have to throw something their way like a free dinner, or a night out to the movies (have something on hand of VALUE).
- Try asking about contesting whether it’s over the air (very unlikely), on the website (getting warmer) or through the media companies social media platforms (Bingo!). I can guarantee you the media company has a way stronger following on their social media platforms, their app, and / or website than you do. Try to leverage this by giving the promotions or marketing department the opportunity to giveaway your product or service online.
- PROVIDE SOMETHING OF VALUE. 10% off is not value. A free dinner when you bring a friend, and spend more than $40 is not value. If you’re going to give something away. MAKE IT BIG! Stop thinking about how you need to make money off of your offer right away. Make your giveaway meaningful, like haircuts for a year or a dinner for two up to $100 (or however much it costs to get an appetizer, two entree’s, dessert, and a couple drinks).
Yes, this will cost you some product / service. Yes, it may cost you a small media buy, but it’s worth it. Think about the amount of people you’ll reach by getting the publicity.
My favourite way of getting publicity
Go after a known brand (stick your stake in the sand – more on that here). If you’re a new restaurant, why not take on a chain, and say you’re against them. If you source your product locally, go after the ‘big guys’ and get the conversation started with your consumers, “Where do you think they get their food from?” A good example of this is Chipotle in the US. They started out attacking the ‘big guys’ in a non-direct way about food, and where it comes from (now, Chipotle is one of the ‘big guys’). You will probably piss some people off by doing this, but that’s okay. You need to stand for something.
You can’t forget digital, and social media. Although most of you lack Facebook fans, have limited followers, etc… You can still make an impact.
First – FIND SOMEONE who is an influencer or has already been in the media discussing your product or something similar. For example – if you’re starting up a business that accepts Bitcoin, then ‘Google’ Bitcoin, and see all the names that come up. I would reach out to each one of those individuals that come up (Winklevoss twins) or tag them in your post on social media. This way, they could do the work for you because they want to see Bitcoin succeed, and the more businesses accepting Bitcoin the better off they are.
One of the easiest ways to stay in the public eye – is to stay relevant. Can you do something special around the holidays (Xmas, New Years, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc…)? If you can, then do it, and make sure you tell people. I’m not talking about a sale, I’m talking about a $3 burrito if you come into your store dressed in a costume on Halloween or partner up with a local Easter Egg Hunt. Think fun, and your fans will follow.
Getting publicity is tough, and it requires a bit of work on your end, but it’s totally worth it. Try out a couple of the items above, and let me know how it goes.
Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft
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