3 June 2012

One PR Secret for small businesses!

Photo by twitter.com/photogams Anne-Marie Sanderson. Taken from Enfield Advertiser.
Be warned this is a long blog.....but it's good. I tell you my one PR Secret and a local News Editor gives you several tips! Perhaps make yourself a cup of tea, then settle down and read it to the end. If you really want press coverage, then follow this advice. It does really work.

AROUND 100 ARTICLES IN THE PRESS AND ONLINE!


My Coffee Stop has been in business now for just over 3 years, we have attained an unbelievably high amount of publicity for a tiny shop, located at the end of a train station platform and are now in the process of changing into a Ltd company, so that we can grow even more and open our next little coffee shop.

I believe that one of the reasons that we have been able to enjoy growth and success is because of excellent PR coverage, especially in our local papers, particularly in The Enfield Advertiser and Gazette.

Several business owners have asked me, 'How do you get into the papers so many times?' They are intrigued, amazed, they want to know the secret, the special thing we must be doing to get in there, the special technique.

This is what I tell them....

THE ONE PR SECRET FOR SMALL BUSINESSES..........


The journalists working on newspapers, need stories, they need interesting things to write about. They are also really, really busy, they are not psychic AND the local papers need your support too!

And that is it really! I think sometimes, us small business owners can feel a bit desperate and wonder why that other shop or business got into the papers and we didn't!

I know that short summary above isn't really going to help you through the mysteries of getting PR for your business, so let's look at how this translates in detail, with Kim Inam, News Editor at North London News, covering Enfield and Barnet, these are her excellent tips, for getting coverage.

GETTING YOUR STORY INTO THE PAPERS.....

The Story

Make sure that what you're telling us about is something unique, something interesting, not necessarily what you've seen us write about before. You might think that getting dignitaries, MPs or Mayors to attend your event will make us what to write about it but we're actually more interested in is the story being outstanding, in its own right.


Deadlines

For any publication that you're dealing with, make sure that you find out the deadline and DON'T pitch or even email on those day/s. The best day is actually the day after.

For The Enfield Advertiser, for instance, the deadline days are Tuesday and Wednesday, so it's best to send emails on Thursdays and Fridays and then follow up with a call, half a day later, in order to give staff the chance to have read your email.

Email

Don't send images/photos with the email you send of your story, in the first instance as it is difficult for our computers to process large attachments. Just one line of text at the end of your email saying that photos are available, is enough.

Call

When you call us, to follow up the initial email, make sure that you get the person's name that you speak to and ask if you can resend them your email. After having spoken to you, they will be able to tell you if the story is potentially interesting or not.

Our Response

We might be interested in your story but might need you to help a bit more, we might not have staff available to cover the exact day of the event, so we might need to arrange a photo shoot on a different day and arrange a phone interview with you. the more flexible you can be about this, the more likely you'll get the coverage.

If we say a 'No' to your story this time, don't take it personally, take the opportunity to ask what could make it more attractive for the next time.

It may be that your story is great but the timing is just all wrong, there could be an election on, a national event, or a major incident which means that we have to concentrate all our staff resources on that and drop your story.

Online

Use what you can for free, follow the publication that you want coverage from, 'Like' their Facebook page and see if you can post your story directly onto their page.

See if you can add your event to the What's On listings on their website. You can add any events you are organising to the Enfield Advertiser website, here.

Follow the publications you want press from on Twitter, tweet them a link to your story, maybe you've got it on your website, or on your blog and at the very least they might retweet it for you! We are certainly very hot on supporting local businesses and causes and supporting them in that way.

Advertising

People can see PR as a free way to get coverage in the local papers but it can take up a lot of your time. Sometimes it can be easier for you to arrange to advertise in the papers, which takes up less time and you are also guaranteed that space, no matter what urgent breaking news comes in on deadline day.

THANK YOU!


A massive thank you to Kim Inam, for the brilliant tips above, they are a fantastic guide to getting coverage in your local papers.


MUTUAL SUPPORT....

One thing I think that it's important to remember is that local newspapers don't just report the stories about our community, they are a part of our community too and deserve the support from us, that we hope to get from them. We need to change our mindset and instead of seeing the local papers as the Simon Cowell of our local area, with acerbic wit and put me downs and harsh judgements, to realise that they play a strong role in supporting local businesses and causes and we should see ourselves as supporting them in return and thus making our community better, they do want your stories and they want your support too.

Have you 'liked' your local newspapers' Facebook page? Do you follow their Twitter account? Do you interact with them and retweet their stuff? It's all part and parcel of us all helping to support each other. You want the local papers to help you with your success, well, you must decide to help support their success too! The staff that work on the papers are part of our local community too. I think it's easy to forget that. The local papers are an important part of our infrastructure, the advice and news they give is important to our community. so, try to remember how you can help the local papers and realise that you have the power to help them, as well as them having the power to help you. Of course, the more they help you and you help them, the more you help to propel each other's success.

I also believe that instead of just feeding them stories about your business, it's important to share positive stories about other businesses with the local paper too. You might know of a fantastic business they haven't written about yet, tell them about it. Most of the time that I've told them about special local businesses I've discovered in the area, they are only too happy to write about them. It's a joy to see other people get newspaper coverage too, such as Baskervilles, Fairies of London, Bim's Kitchen, Four Hills Music, I Can Do It and We Network, those are just some of the businesses that I've told The Enfield Advertiser and Gazette about. Aren't those people getting the coverage taking up your space? No, they are making the newspaper a more colourful and interesting read and increasing it's value in the community.

The local newspaper that has given us the most publicity, is The Enfield Advertiser and Gazette and Kim Inam is the News Editor, of that paper. I asked her to give me a quote, she gave me loads of tips, that's how helpful and approachable she is. So, don't be scared of the local papers!

Follow them on Twitter.

Like them on Facebook.

And send your stories to:- news.enfield@nlhnews.co.uk

When you get news coverage after reading this blog, please post the link to it in the comments below.

If you have any other ideas or advice, please make sure you leave a comment. I wish you lots of Luck and Success with everything you do and hope this article helps you to get where you want to go! 
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