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No news is bad news

Small business owners, and especially sole traders, face one difficult problem – marketing. Advertising budgets are low, and traditional media with its high audiences is expensive. There is an alternative.

News coverage  can boost sales, improve your brand and product visibility, and provide you with many of the same advantages as paid-for advertising.

media scrum

How do you get this sort of attention from the press for your company?

Stories and interviews can transform your company’s status from an utter unknown to a knowledgeable, trustworthy and reliable organisation. And that’s all-important when it comes to influencing purchasing decisions – particularly in a small market like the Isle of Man.

But people expect a lot from news coverage, and I’ve read enough press releases to know what sort of stories make a splash and which end up on the dreaded newsroom spike.

What should you avoid?

Dull photographs. Pictures can make or break a good story, but too often there’s a misjudged ego-trip that means member of a team needs to be in a photo.

This is bad. Why? Because a lineup of people is dull. It adds nothing to a story and more often than not the size of the picture means faces are so small they are almost unrecognisable.

Similarly, cheque presentation photos. They’re known as “grip and grin” pics to journalists. There is nothing distinctive about two people holding a giant cheque – in fact at one paper I worked at in the UK they were banned altogether because they add nothing for readers.

Buzzwords in press releases: you might pay a PR agency hundreds of pounds to write them, but no reporter worth their salt is going to use them. It’s a capital offence for most sub-editors. Avoid management jargon like the plague… you’re wasting your time and more often than not end up on a newsroom’s laugh-list. “Going forward” means “in future”. Always use plain English.

Over-commercialised releases. These are a direct replacement for advertising, and every media outlet survives on advertising. No reporter is going to use a “company holds sale” story. It’s commercial suicide and earns you a telling-off from whoever’s responsible for ad sales. Again, you’re wasting your time.

So what sort of news stories will interest a journalist?

Well, we could tell you… but that’s the whole point of our small business media training course. For a fraction of the cost of a single press release (and a tiny fraction of the equivalent advertising cost), we can teach you what stories will bring that all-important interview.

Furthermore, our course is a one-off cost that’ll pay for itself over and over again as you get repeated coverage and build the relationship with newsdesks that means you’re their go-to company in future.

And all attendees who join our email list will get a weekly digest email with story suggestions, in case you’re running out of inspiration or haven’t thought how you might become involved.

Literally every company – no matter the size or sector – has stories to tell. The trick is spotting what they are, and how to tell them.

Chips Cheese Gravy Media can help – click here to find out more about our small business media training courses!


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