As an entrepreneur, consultant, or small business owner, the key to getting publicity for your small business is to make yourself newsworthy.
To get your creative juices flowing let me suggest 20 ways you can make your business newsworthy.
- Do a customer survey and include controversial questions. Write articles about the results of the survey. The media loves survey results.
- Create a top ten list about something in your business. If you’re a beautician, write an article titled, “Top Ten Most Popular Hairstyles for Women.”
- Develop an annual award that you give out to someone in the community or a business in your industry. For instance, give an award to a local outstanding teacher that has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Or if you’re a supplier you can give an award to the “Best” business (customer) in the industry your service.
- Offer surprising facts about your industry or business. For instance, if you’re a recruitment firm write an article titled, “The Average Starting Salary of An MBA Graduate is 40 percent Higher Than Their Pre-MBA Earnings.”
- Piggyback off a national story. For example, when the rumours of a recession hit one business wrote a story about how their business actually improved as a result of the recession.
- Tie your business in with holidays or special days. For example, tell the media how your massage therapy business helps to reduce stress during the Christmas season and provides gift certificates for welcome relief.
- Give a rags-to-riches story about yourself as a high school nobody that starts her own business and becomes successful. Remember, the media loves human interest stories.
- Tie your business into something that took place in the past. Go to your local library (Institute of Jamaica) and find articles from 50 or 100 years ago that may somehow tie into the product or services you provide.
- Be first. Be the first to offer a 200 percent double your money back guarantee. Be the first to offer an on-site car wash with every sale. Be the first to give your employees ownership in your business. Think of something at which you can claim to be the first.
- Host a “Kids are the Boss Day!” Hand your business over to your 14 year old kid or one of your employee’s young children for the day.
- Run a “silliest thing” or “dumb mistakes” contest with your customers. For instance, if you’re a shoe repair shop, ask your customers for the silliest things they’ve ever done with their shoes. If you’re a sport goods retailer ask your customers for the dumbest mistakes they’ve made while camping. These are great human interest stories that the press will love.
- Sponsor a local community service project. For example, if you’re a dry cleaner, clean the clothes for all the visitors of the local food shelter. If you’re a fast food retailer, hold a free lunch day for disabled children. If you’re a car repair shop, offer oil and lubes to the parents of boy scouts and donate all the proceeds to the Boy Scouts of Jamaica.
- Throw a one-of-a-kind customer appreciation theme party such as a magical theme party in which customers can bring their children to watch a magician do incredible tricks.
- Do you have a customer that uses your products in an unusual way or uses your product to become a high achiever? If you run a gym, is one of your customers a bodybuilding champion? If you own a bike shop is one of your customers a champion trial racer? If you manage an electronics store do you have a customer who has invented a whiz-bang contraption?
- Take on the sacred cows of your industry and challenge them. If you’re a human resource consultant, give employee-of-the-month programmes a severe drubbing. If you’re a Chinese restaurant manager, tell consumers how “real” Chinese food actually tastes bland and boring. If you’re a home-based business person, write about how corporate Jamaica is suffocating good people.
- Close down your business for one day a year and have your entire staff do a day of charity work. Headlines would read, “Local Print Shop Closes Doors to Help the Needy!”
- Has your business survived a tragic incident (like the recession or a fire) and made it through with flying colours?
- Write a general interest story about the problem that your product or service solves. If you’re a car detailer you could write about how oxidation and rust destroys the integrity of your car and makes it unsafe to drive. If you sell website services write about hosting problems or the effects of poor website design and how to solve it.
- Why did you start your business? If you started your business because you were dissatisfied with the provider you were using (or the employer you worked for), let the press know. For instance, you went into the Italian restaurant business because the Italian food in the local area wasn’t authentic. Maybe you started pool cleaning service because of the lousy job service providers were doing on your own pool.
- Prove a myth or stereotype in your industry wrong. For instance, if you’re a hot tub dealer, show a man who sits in his hot tub every night and has 12 children (meaning the hot water really doesn’t kill your sperm!).
How you make your business newsworthy is only limited by your creativity and ingenuity. Remember, there are no boring stories, just boring approaches to interesting stories.
Delroy A. Whyte-Hall owns Whyte-HallCommunications, a writing and public relations consultancy specialising in helping businesses tell their story. Services include articles, copywriting, case studies, press releases, media liaison, publicity marketing strategy, and PR/Corporate events photography.
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