Today, I wanted to address the second most-asked question I receive.
The first one, by the way, is no surprise. It’s, “How do I get my story featured in the news?” I have articles, videos and resources here at cheryltanmedia.com where you can get answers to that and much more. Just go to cheryltanmedia.com/start.
The second most-asked question isn’t so much a question, but more of a situation, followed by a, “What do I do?”
“I have a book, an event, a new business I’m about to launch. Maybe I have received a big award, I just got a new client, I have to hire five people, I have taken on a partner. Big things are happening in my business and I don’t want to waste a marketing opportunity. What do I do?”
And while the lack of new things happening in your business feels terrible, too much happening at once may feel just as bad.
Today, I wanted to address that.
How to maximize opportunity in your business. Put another way, how to market your business when opportunity is knocking – nonstop!
I have to be honest. I wouldn’t have thought this was a thing a couple of years ago. As a former news reporter, I used to call people up, people who had things happening to them or because of them, interview them quickly, like within the hour if I could, write the stories and they’d be on the news before the evening was over.
But working now with business owners who are trying to navigate the ever-changing world of media and publicity, I get it. There’s no real road map. It’s intimidating. It’s the unknown.
Before you move onto the next project in your business, because there is always a next project, I want you to take a deep breath and consider these three questions as you figure out what marketing and media opportunities await you. Because you have things going on in your business.
Why is it important?
Take a step back and determine whether what is happening in your business is something worth sharing. I know this may sound harsh, but how does your book, your new product or new building impact the community?
Remember, what’s important to one person isn’t necessarily important to someone else. This is where a little self-awareness comes into play, or a good sounding board who can be honest with you. But don’t downplay it, either. If people don’t learn about what you’re creating, they can’t benefit from it.
So, determine, what’s the big picture? What role does your new addition play? While it may be important for you and your business, is it important enough that other people who don’t know you or anything about your business would be interested as well?
Let me share an example. I am working with a woman who is launching a nonprofit that will help teen girls learn how to become entrepreneurs. She is partnering with several groups and the media sees the value of her mission. Her story has been told on TV and in print many times. They see her mission impacts the community in many ways.
Who needs to hear about it? Whether it’s a book, an event, a workshop or a sale – who would benefit from learning about your news? Who would really care about its release? Think about that and picture that person in your mind. Or that group of people. For sales and for live events, it may seem obvious – you’d want to share the information with your past clients and customers.
You can post something on social media about your upcoming event, you can send an email to your list. But for awards or big changes to your business structure, there are partners who probably should get the heads up – people who have helped you grow. These are people you may stop by to see, people you would pick up the phone and actually talk with to share the good news. Mentors, educators, family members, other relatives, the Chamber of Commerce, the local Economic Development Department. They are invested in your success.
I get story pitches all the time, and I welcome them. One I received last week came from a local Economic Development department. Their marketing teams were sending out the news on the company’s behalf. How powerful is that?
Who needs to hear about your news? Think about that first and then make those announcements – via email, social media, phone call or in-person visit.
The final question you should ask yourself as you wonder about the marketing opportunities ahead for your business is:
Who can help you share it?
In some cases, just posting your news to Facebook isn’t going to cut it. If you really want to grab attention and make sure people who need to hear your message get to hear your message, you may need to get a little help. What I mean by that is sharing your news to someone who will spread it to his/her audience.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote about this in the Tipping Point and when you’re looking for people to share it, look for the connectors.
Connectors are the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions.
Maybe it’s the media, as in a reporter from a local TV station or newspaper. But maybe it’s your mom and her friends. Could it be even the teachers at your child’s school?
Think about the volunteer organizations you spend time with, the boards you sit on, the groups you are active in. They might share your news in their email blasts or newsletters, maybe mention you in a meeting.
And if your story is newsworthy – meaning it’s relevant to that reporter’s audience as well as timely – then reach out to a reporter and share your pitch.
My most favorite thing I talk to entrepreneurs about is sharing trends in their business, because as experts in your industry, you know what is happening before anyone else. If you recognize them and share those trends, you can be seen as the expert ahead of the curve.
I worked with a woman last year who did such a good job with this. Last year, she wanted to get ahead of big changes in reporting rules that impacted disclosures for home buyers. She was able to share her words of wisdom regarding those changes in newspaper and magazine articles about the topic.
To recap, here are the three questions you should ask yourself as you work to maximize your marketing just as new opportunities arrive:
Why is it important?
Who needs to hear about your news?
Who can help you share it?
My final word of advice about this is: be open to opportunity. And if you are, someone else may help you spread the word.
If you’re looking for a place to discuss media and marketing opportunities, consider the PR Pro community, an online training academy designed to teach you how to get the media attention you want and maximize your opportunities. For a limited time, until Tuesday, November 29th, 2016, you can see inside the PR Pro community, and get access to its forums, videos, lessons and downloads for two full weeks for $1. If you’re interested in learning more , goto cheryltanmedia.com/blackfriday.
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