“I want to be in The New York Times.” “Can you get me on ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things List’?” All things I’ve heard…A LOT over 20 years. And I get it. Really.
Working with small businesses daily, I appreciate that everyone wants that one big national media hit that will make their product/service and grow their business. It’s the holy grail everyone wants, and it used to be easier to achieve…pre-pandemic.
Today, thanks to major reductions in ad sales and subscribers, the media are furloughing and laying off, again. More journalists are going freelance and it can be hard to locate and get in contact with them, or they are leaving the industry altogether. Meanwhile, those left are churning and burning stories because, even though there isn’t enough revenue at their respective publication or station to retain staff, news doesn’t stop.
Fewer journalists are trying to do the reporting of several across a number of platforms and channels, even outlets, and bombarded by thousands of businesses and PR professionals daily, making it hard to stand out. (If you want news coverage, support journalism by subscribing!)
Now, I’m not saying that you’ll never get national media exposure. What I am saying is that if your goal is to sell your product in the market, where no one knows you and, on a budget, you need to consider a realistic strategy. You don’t go from the starting gate to the finish line automatically. Smart companies look for the “low-hanging fruit” to reach their audience quickly and directly (aka niche media).
Niche media are trade and consumer, topic-specific media outlets. They are hungry for content, latest news and products, and industry market trends to cover.
Example #1 of Niche Media
If your product is for pets, you should target pet industry publications and the many consumer pet media. Build a relationship with them and become a reliable source for inclusion in even more stories and product round-ups.
Why this works: Retail buyers, industry influencers, other media and businesses read these, which can lead to interest from retailers who want to buy and sell your product. Pet-loving consumer subscribers are more likely to go to your website and buy from you directly. Why? Because they are your ideal customers.
This is the media exposure that matters most: Hyper-targeted — generating awareness, driving sales and growth, providing valuable content for your website, blog and social channels, helping to grow your audience and ultimately build a community of ambassadors around your product, who will be more than happy to tell others how great you are.
Case study: I achieved more than 70 opportunities in one year for a client in the pet industry, and a good chunk were industry publications. The credibility these stories and inclusions provided led to big time interest and sales from major retail buyers, and even more media.
Example #2 of Niche Media
Let’s say you’ve launched a new, unique service for the construction industry. Sure, you think it should be on CNBC because it could disrupt the market, but the reality is that you first need the industry’s buy in — their interest and business, track record of sales and use — to develop a trend story that might peak interest with a producer at CNBC. And the best way to make that all happen is by getting the attention of construction industry media.
Why this works: Getting a story in even one of these publications can result in reaching thousands of company decision makers and potential sales.
Another tactic: Industry outlets often want original expert content. Writing an article – with the reward of exposure — can position yourself and your company as an industry expert and give more credibility the new service you’ve just launched.
Example #3 of Niche Media
One final example — not to be discounted — is hometown media. Your local media are always looking for great stories of individuals, innovation, and businesses in the community. In fact, they often want to be the first to hear about what you’re doing before it gets any national attention.
Why this works: Local media write stories about local news and consumers love to support local businesses. If your hometown loves your product or business, then they will support you all the way.
Case study: I have a female-led startup, the Crawligator, that has been in my mentorship program for a few years now. Last summer, with some guidance, she landed herself on the local ABC affiliate’s “Chicago Made” segment. Her customers loved the product so much that they shared the company on the ABC network’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” Facebook page for the “Made in America” segment. After seeing the local ABC segment, the national producer asked the company to make a video that could be edited and aired on the national newscast that evening.
Before you create a public relations strategy for your business, consider exactly where your customers are and how to reach them quickly and easily to drive sales. Once they help build and grow your business, then you strive for your holy grail and hit up Today show.
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