SME Surgery: tips for getting media coverage

08 August 2014

By Brian Henderson

Brian Henderson is head of PwC’s fast-growth company programme and a private business specialist.

Q How do I get media coverage for my product or service?

The first challenge to this question is to check why you want it and whether it is for the right reasons? But let’s first deal with some things that won’t work.

Sending out a press release that leads with a description of your product or service won’t work.  PR can be seen as a counterintuitive, dark art by sales-orientated business people because the routes to success are so indirect.

Imagine you have designed an app to help encourage better business management behaviours. It’s likely you’re going to have to work hard to earn coverage and in a way that’s not immediately obvious. You’re going to have to tell a story that’s interesting to the audience of the publication you’re approaching. This might involve doing some primary research or a poll of 1000 people which will enable you to produce the top 5 bad habits of managers. Can you calculate how much more profitable companies are when they adopt your suggested management behaviours?

Where media coverage is concerned, always remember you’re selling a story, not a product. If you tell a great story, the payback is that you’ll get a message in the coverage, but you won’t have control over the process.

Back to my original challenge as to why you’re doing this at all. Press releases are a dying form of communication. Why not look at social media instead? Granted, you’ll still have to work on your stories and post items regularly to build a meaningful presence, but here you’ll have the chance to try things out, hone your messages and learn what works without being reliant on a third party.

Getting mentioned in the local newspaper probably isn’t going to lead to sales. Raising your profile on Google searches might. Of course, coverage in traditional media is encouraging and can bring you into contact with new and unexpected partners but, if you’re going to put the effort in, be clear about what you’re trying to achieve. Make sure it’s part of a broader communications plan that fits into your overall business strategy.  If you can’t get your head around it, you might want to start looking for a good PR/communications  adviser.

More articles by Brian Henderson

Brian Henderson | Fast Growth Companies Leader Profile | Email | +44 (0) 207 804 9018

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