Small business BIG growth®
Words by Jessica Evans, Founder of Media Institute
Everyday we are being sold to, on our social feeds, when we watch TV, drink our coffee, even walk outside our front doors.
And in an age when we are more connected than ever before, we are starting to switch off and disconnect.
Every single day we are bombarded with ads, sales, buy this, look at that, do this, take action. Buy my e-course, watch how I made a million dollars in five minutes through investment property. All that white noise is exhausting. Consumers have started turning off and tuning out when they feel marketed and sold to constantly.
There is a new wave of what people want, they want value, they want to like you before they buy, to be educated and they want you to offer solutions and solve their problems. If you won’t then one of your competitors will.
As the founder of a publicity education and consulting business, Media Institute (www.mediainstitute.com.au), majority of what I do comes down to educating business owners on how to strategically reach their audiences in an authentic way by using publicity.
Publicity is essential a form of marketing. And getting your business published in the media is an untapped goldmine for small business and something you can incorporate into your business strategy today to be seen and heard.
If you can give to your tribe first, before you market and sell to them then they’ll want more from you.
So how does one continue to market their business but stay relevant and engaging to their following?
1. Consider publicity
If you’re an entrepreneur who hasn’t jumped on the PR bandwagon yet, then chances are you’re letting opportunities to promote your business pass you by.
And if you’re a bootstrapping startup or don’t yet have a budget for PR, learning how to manage your own PR, is a cost-effective way to do business marketing without paying a cent. Unlike advertising which can be exorbitant, ineffective and unmemorable.
Getting published and having an article written about your business gives you a winning edge over your competitors, boosts your SEO and builds your brand power fast.
In the words of Guy Kawasaki – “Brands are built on what people say about you”, an article written about you has a powerful effect to influence an audience and build your credibility as a business person.
It gets people talking, its far more memorable than an ad and makes people want what you’ve got going on. It’s kind of like marketing on the sly – it’s not so in your face or a hard sell.
2. Offer value not advertising
The main reason I see businesses unable to gain media opportunities is because they are looking at media and publicity in the wrong way. The are looking at publicity in the way of “what can I gain from this?” “How can I promote myself and my business”.
If businesses instead looked at the needs of media outlets and created content with the view to offer value to their potential clients then they would be much more effective in creating content that inspired, captivated and engaged.
And they would have a higher chance of getting published in the first place.
Put simply media outlets want quality content that engages readers and people read content that is entertaining, interesting and teaches them something.
A media release should not contain information about your products and services but rather an angle that is interesting and engaging for consumers of news and information.
3. Give them what they want
Check in with your customers. Ask them what their problems are, what information they need and how you can help them.
Ask them what is challenging and puzzling them most about what you do – you can do this with a survey or email out. You might know your business inside out but chances are they don’t.
If you can solve their pains and offer them solutions then you’ve won the battle.
Instead of thinking of publicity as a marketing tool consider where the article your sending out is going and why people would want to read it in the first place.
If you think of the end product, rather than “how will I benefit”, then you will better your chances of being published.
The problem with thinking about publicity and marketing generally in this way, is that many business owners end up generating advertising copy about the services they offer rather than creating news.
And people want connection, they’re craving it. Stop hard selling and start giving and watch the results.
Jessica Evans is the founder of the Media Institute, a PR education service for businesses wanting to gain media exposure without using a PR agency. A former journalist, Jessica has worked for some of Australia’s leading media outlets including the Herald Sun and AAP. She runs courses, and offers media strategy and consultation for her clients. For further information reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.