Get on the News: How to Get Your Business or Organization on the News for Free
So, You Want to Get on the News?
Whether you are a business owner or manager, a club president, or just an Average Joe with a really good story, getting on the news may have crossed your mind once or twice.
While each year, businesses spend thousands of dollars in print and broadcast ads, the smartest businesses are those that take advantage of an effective, well-written press release which can buy them a lot of free earned media at a cost of 90 percent less.
Get on the News
Get on the News Resources
Get on the News: A How-To
Are you ready to get on the news? Follow these 4 easy steps and you'll be one step closer to your 15 minutes of fame and a great amount of attention for your business or organization.
No. 1: What's The Story? The first step to getting your business or club on the news is to discover the angle of your story. Whereas the opening of your new bakery or restaurant might be extremely exciting to you, unless your food offers miracle cures, chances are the news won't be as enthusiastic.
Consider the players involved, the history of your organization, how your business is or will be making a difference in the community. Be unique and get creative. More than 80 percent of stories ever pitched to me as a news reporter were the run-of-the-mill new business looking for free advertising stories. Instead, show me how your new business is changing lives. Bonus points if your business is a or surrounds controversial topics.
No. 2: Get it in Writing. Depending on your market, you might just be able to call your local newspaper editor and town's TV and Radio stations to pitch the story, but more likely than not, a press release will be necessary to get you in the door.
With the press release, you have two options: Hire a professional freelance writer or media professional to flesh out your press release, or, do it yourself. Press release writing isn't something you are born to do, but a very easy-to-learn skill. Check out books at the library on press release writing or some of the recommended resources on this page. Make sure to get input from those around you and edit edit edit until it is crisp.
No. 3: Make Your Media List. Give yourself time to compile a list of media outlets you would like to include in your press release campaign. The most important thing you can do is call the outlets themselves first to find out who to address press releases to; there is nothing more detrimental to your campaign for free press than getting a press release to someone who isn't even responsible for assigning the story!
Typically, you will need to address all press queries to an assignment, "Metro" or news editor, but this person and title changes between news organizations, so check it out early for accuracy!
No. 4: Send Your Press Release. Once your press release has been written and your press contact list is complete, send your press release. It is best to send your press release at either the beginning of the week, or the end of the press cycle (depending on a news organzation's deadlines.)
Also, try to send in your release with enough lead time so that an editor can assign the story prior to an event. Two weeks is customary, but check with each organization for specific rules about calendar listings or if you live in a large metropolitan area. If your release isn't as time sensitive, you might be able to get some traction after sending your release by calling and ensuring your contact received the literature.
A word of advice: Be friendly, be enthusiastic, be persistent, but don't be annoying! Once you have followed up with a news organization, the ball is in their court. Even if this press release isn't picked up, chances are good you can build name recognition--and better your chances of getting free press--if you make such pitches a regular part of your business or organization.