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09 Mar, 2010

How To Grow Your Business Through The Media

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles|PR

How To Grow Your Business Through The Media

Exposure in the media doesn’t have to cost a penny, and can give you priceless credibility, authority and visibility.  Remember that people normally need to read or hear about something at least 5 times before they take the plunge and buy, so you need to follow up leads regularly and keep marketing yourself (not just by the media routes below, but by ads, flyers, or newsletters for example).

Let’s summarise PR as being the communication between an individual or organisation and its target consumers, gaining coverage by using topics of public interest and news that do not require direct payment.  . 

Tip 1

  • Draw up the target media, on and offline, that your future clients may read.  Then there is no substitute for actually reading them!  Your success rates will be tripled if you can spot journalists who are interested in your fields/passions, and show you enjoy their writing.  Find out who writes the articles and website sections, and who researches the radio programmes that are most relevant to your expertise – eg for life coaches, it might be journalists covering health and wellness.  Get the relevant writers’ contact details from the publication or its website, or call and ask for ‘the editorial team’ and then get the name of the person who is most likely to be interested in what you have.
  •  Start with the local press, radio or websites, then progress to specialist, trade or business press covering your niche.  National newspapers and magazines have to be the hardest to interest in your story, but if you have a story that is spectacular and of national interest eg you are selling groundbreaking CDs nationwide or offering phone coaching, you need to use the same approaches.
  • Introduce yourself to the relevant journalists, ideally with something relevant to their pages – be it a diary story, an original and timely opinion relating to the news or a story they’ve just covered, or an angle for a story you could write.
  • Contact the features editor/assistant if your information is of a general, not time specific nature, and the news editor/team if it’s a story that will be less newsworthy the longer it waits, like winning an award.
  •  Make your and your company’s credentials clear at the beginning. This is probably easiest done by email (without attachments) and followed up by a phone call.
  • Don’t expect them to call or email you back – put aside say 15 minutes every few days, at different times of the day, to keep phoning them until you catch them at their desks.  And DON’T stop when you get busy!

Tip 2
Call the relevant journalists and radio programme researchers and ask if they might be interested in your contact details for expert comment on issues you are confident to talk about (remember to sound as confident as you can!).  Get their email address and write something brief introducing yourself, including your job title, areas of coaching expertise, relevant background information that makes you more impressive like where you’ve worked before and for how long, and all your contact details.

Follow it up by phone to establish a rapport.

Tip 3
The easiest way to gain coverage is to contribute to features your target publications have planned.  Search on their website for forward features schedules, or call the advertising or editorial team to ask if they have one – not all do, and online media tend to act on the moment.  If you see a feature where you can provide relevant knowledge, get in touch with the relevant journalist well ahead of time. 

Imagine what your potential clients need to know in order to want to call you, (not what you want to sell!) and be sure to incorporate that information into whatever you write for publication.  Any self promotion must be very subtle, and possibly no more than your name and website address at the bottom of the article.

Tip 4
You might interest a journalist in any of the following ideas for angles:

  • Clients’ success stories, if they are willing for you to talk about their journey to which you have contributed eg managing anger.  Always get your clients permission first to use their story, and change all contact’s details if necessary.
  • Surveys – be sure to quote your source, date and size of sample and the more recent, the better, and relate your expertise to the findings.  Eg According to Relate’s summer 2009 research, X% of adults have problems communicating with their partner during holidays.  Divorce specialist coach, Fred Smith, offers the following advice to build positive communication skills….
  • Awards and achievements, if possible the same month they are received
  • Controversy and expert comment.  The further you stick your neck out, the more likely you are to be quoted (but don’t put potential clients off!)
  • Anything topical – try relating your story to times of the year like Tips on Maintaining New Year’s resolutions or special days like Mother’s Day.  Or relate your story to topical events in your region.
  •  Anything new or quirky, like offering a specialist coaching service that nobody else is.

Tip 5
Choose from any of the following placement routes:

  • Offer a reader benefit (eg free places at a workshop for the first xx people to apply from your local newspaper).  In fact it’s a good idea to suggest adding a ‘call to action’ to your editorial if people call within, say, 7 days of publication eg a trial coaching session, or a free 7th session if 6 are booked.
  •  Call re placing it exclusively – so that you are guaranteed one decent piece of coverage in a target publication.  If it’s relevant, look at placing it in non competing publications subsequently eg in a fitness/business publication, then after publication in your regional newspaper or magazine
  • Email a press release to your local media, making it clear in the first sentence where you are from, eg ‘Cambridge Coach wins award…’
  • Monitor then call or email diary pages or opinion & review pages, with authoritative input.  Contact the same journalist who edited the feature as soon as possible after publication, eg you could introduce parent coaching when you read a story/letter about badly behaved youngsters.
  • Write to letters pages.
  • Write an article on your niche or something you feel passionate about, then call the journalists who write similar on areas to ask if they might be interested in using it.  If they do feature your material, suggest you could write a regular column or features.

Have a professional, high resolution mug shot taken of yourself and forward it with any wording (copy) that has been requested.

Tip 6
The correct way to write a press release is as follows:

  • A  release is an article written in the third person, with a “hook” like  a topical day (eg Mother’s Day), an event (eg a workshop) or a link to a newsworthy event (eg new legislation).
  • Have a short headline containing keywords (see the style of headlines in publications you would be sending it to)
  • First paragraph should contain the who, what, where, which and why (ie could stand alone).  Don’t put any ‘selling’ words in the first paragraph, many press will never read any further!
  • Relevant information, maybe facts and figures and always a quote.  Eg ‘Hypnotherapist Helen Red reported/commented “…”
  • Write paragraphs in order of priority, as journalists always edit from the end
  • Write ‘ends’ followed by a ‘note to editor’ containing key material on your services, any biographical details that will make you sound more impressive including accreditations, your title eg Team Management Expert and contacts: name, tel, email and website
  • Always include date of distribution
  • Include release in the body of the email, not as attachment, and no longer than it needs to be.

Tip 7 – and the shortest:

  • ‘Off the record’ doesn’t exist! 

By Diana Jervis Read
Professional Coach and PR Mentor
www.jrperformancecoaching.com

 

11 Responses to "How To Grow Your Business Through The Media"

1 | Maggie Currie

March 10th, 2010 at 9:33 am

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Great article with lots of useful tips. Thanks for taking the time to write it for those of us who know nothing about getting into the media.

2 | Sandy Scott

March 10th, 2010 at 9:48 am

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Thanks Diana – this is really helpful. There are lots of ideas in here and more importantly, practical tips on how to go about using the media more effectively. Many thanks and I will certainly be putting this into practise.

3 | Jacqueline Pigdon

March 10th, 2010 at 10:25 am

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Great post Diana! I think your information is very useful for coaches; both for themselves and to help raise the coaching industry profile via the media.

Live Your Best Life!

Jacqueline Pigdon

4 | Rene Wyndham

March 10th, 2010 at 11:18 am

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Diana, you are spot on. I have worked in the media for years and your approach is exactly right and very practical. I now teach organisations some of what you have suggested, and I congratulate you on such a thorough piece of work. So many people ask how they can publicise an event or a product and you have encapsulated exactly what is required. Well done!

5 | lesley Stopford

March 10th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

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Diana,
This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me. It’s one of the things I know I “should” do and has seemed really scary to put into practice. Thank you for sharing such practical advice and taking the mystery out of the whole thing. I shall definitely be following your approach .
Best wishes,

6 | Greg Wilkinson

March 11th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

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Great Article, very informative, well structured and comprehensive. I will certainly use this as will many other coaches I am sure. Thank you Diana.
Greg Wilkinson

7 | Monika Kloeckner

March 11th, 2010 at 9:07 pm

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Thank you for this great insight on how to grow my business. You listed very valuable tips. Especially, the press release information is useful for me.
Thank you again.
Monika

8 | Marvin Barrett

March 13th, 2010 at 11:43 pm

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Great post Diana,

Very informative I found also. Will be looking to implement these tips shortly.

Marvin

9 | Varghese Abraham

April 12th, 2010 at 4:55 pm

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Hi Diana,

The tips you have presented above are absolutely fantastic.If used the way you have mentioned, it will do a world of good to promote the business.The sad part is ,most of the people do not take action on such golden nuggets because it is free.

10 | Lisa Reed Hurtt

April 21st, 2010 at 1:19 am

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Hi Diana,

The tips that you have presented above are very good. It’s very informative. That’s very helpful especially to those who are in business.

11 | Viv Leach

December 7th, 2011 at 11:55 am

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Hello Diana,

I enjoyed reading your background journey to establishing yourself as a Coach, where you are working and the various challenges faced. I also enjoyed the valualbe tips you present above to help us all raise our profiles and grow our businesses through the media. The message is clear to us all: take these tips on board, take action and take a make sure you take a variety of steps to raise your business profiles! The only way is up! Social media enhances the game.
Well done. I look forward to reading more articles.

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