You can't be all things to all people, a maxim that's especially important for small business owners with limited dollars, staff and time. You need to focus resources where they really matter. So, ask yourself:
Who are the key audiences for your business?
If you sell a business to business product, ask yourself similar questions. What industry uses your products? Are they located in specific areas of the country? Who buys the product within an organization?
Think about the media that are read, heard or watched by your key audience. Then read, hear and watch them yourself to become familiar with the topics they cover. This step is really important to give you an idea of the kind of story that will appeal to them.
Create a media list
This next step can take a bit of time, so if you have an administrative assistant, get them to help you.
In a spreadsheet, create a list with the following information:
Finding the right contacts is critical to the success of your program.
The newspaper contact is easy to identify since it’s the reporter whose articles you read every day. There may also be a special reports editor who is responsible for publishing features.
With television or radio stations, call them to find the producer of the show you’re targeting. Bloggers can be a bit trickier to find, so watch for a future post on how to identify these folks.
Trade publications for B2B (business to business) products typically have an online presence where you can find the editor’s name and all their contact information.
Creating an up-to-date media list can be time consuming depending on your customer target list. If your product is sold nationally and it’s a B2C (business to consumer) product, set aside a few hours to finalize your list.
Task: Create a media list for your business. Once the list is done don`t rest on your laurels. Media often change beats or leave for another outlet so your list quickly becomes out of date. Revisit and update your contacts on a regular basis.
Next Step: Come back next week to learn how to write key messages.
Shelley Pringle is the founder of Toronto PR agency Polaris Public Relations Inc., a collective of experienced PR professionals who are passionate about achieving results for their clients.