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How to get some notice in your hometown

In June I will celebrate the 25th anniversary of starting the business that has evolved into my current company,

One of my first marketing planning tasks back in early January was to create a schedule of promotional events for this year to celebrate my business anniversary.

And the first item on the list was to create an interesting story about my company that I could share with local media.

Now, I am fortunate in that the newspaper with the third largest circulation in the Chicago area is located in the same suburb as is my company, So, over the past couple of years I have gotten to know the business editor through chats at local networking events.

I reached out the to editor knowing that she writes a special column each week featuring interesting tidbits about business in suburban Chicago. (It's important to understand where your kind of story fits into the editorial of the newspaper, i.e., home improvement, health, business, etc.).

My pitch was simple: Here’s an interesting company, doing interesting things, which has managed to keep doing it for 25 years.

And voila, within a week or so she called me to arrange an interview. I invite you to see the result. Read the Article: Booming with Boomers

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How To Get Your Local Media To Notice Your Business

1. Reach out before you want your story to be told.

Start sending short stories to the appropriate contact at your local paper featuring tips for readers on your specialty. Make sure you play up the point that your a company is located in the circulation area of the newspaper.

Continuing my story: A year or so ago after sending a couple of stories to this editor, she emailed me to ask if I would answer a question on marketing a small business. I was pleased to do so, and by doing so did her a favor which she remembered.

2. Write your story from the readers point of view.

Very few reporters will find a story about your company anniversary that interesting in and of itself. What they want you to share with their readers are some of the lessons you have learned over the time you have been in business. Or, if you or your company has won an award, what you learned in the process of drawing enough attention to win the award.

In other words, share “insider tips” with the newspaper readers.

3. Send an appropriate picture.

Most reporters like to use a “work in place” kind of picture which shows you doing something related to your business rather than just a head shot.

In my case, I didn’t really have a recent photo that provided this environment, so I suggested that we shoot a few new photos. I chose to do so at our local library because I knew that they had recently introduced a new business resource center and wanted to talk about it.

You will notice that in my picture I am prominently featured sitting under the resource center sign. This was a win-win to provide an appropriate photo and talk up a local resource.

4. Organize your thoughts.

Rarely, if ever, will a reporter reprint your press story word for word.

They almost always want to interview you and ask you questions, some of which will arise from the press story you sent them.

So, if you need a visual guide when being interviewed, make a written “cheat sheet” of key bits of information from your press story, such as the year you started your business, what compelled you to start your business, key success points, etc.

Interviews are done by phone and typically last 20-25 minutes.

Don’t be long-winded. Answer each question briefly but in a descriptive manner. Keep in mind as you are talking what you would like to read about your company if you were a newspaper subscriber.

My story vs the newspaper story

Compare how I worded the press story versus what turned out in the newspaper story.

Read my PR story

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Free Talk Fridays

I like to share special occasions.

And, I’d like to share my 25th anniversary celebration with you.

Each Friday through the end of June, I am pleased to offer free, 30-minute coaching calls to talk about anything small business related – ranging from finding a good business idea to how to boost your business growth.

Click here to schedule your call

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