Not all publicity is good publicity
You may have heard the saying, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” but try telling that to Gerald Ratner, whose jokes about his own products cost him a fortune. In business, media attention can make you a household name and explode your company. Done wrong, it can cost you everything.
Here’s how to attract the right kind of media attention.
1. Avoid negative press
It might sound obvious, but don’t give the press anything negative to latch on to, and when your efforts start paying off, you won’t be looking over your shoulder to see if anyone’s caught you out. Stay on the right side of the law, live clean and set a good example. Only if you can say you’re adhering to this first rule should you even think about any of the others.
2. Send out Press Releases
Not the generic kind that brag about a new product, your burgeoning profits or new fat cat CEO. If they do get read (highly unlikely) they’re more prone to attract the wrong kind of attention. Instead, look to your people for human interest stories. Do you employ someone with a special talent? Learning difficulties or disabilities? Health challenges they’ve overcome? How do you help them compete in the workplace? Do you sponsor their sporting activities? These are the kinds of things you want to shout about, not your ten year anniversary, new widget or dongle, or certificate on the wall.
3. Sponsor someone or something
If you don’t have staff you can sponsor, decide on a charity or cause you want to support, and start raising money for it. Give something back to your local community, and if you can, make it relevant to your business. In IT, give computers or software to local clubs and schools. Clothing retailer? Send stock that doesn’t sell to shelters. Food retailer? Can you start soup kitchen? Are you a designer or printer? Then design or get some flyers printed for free and ask that your company name is added as a sponsor. If you don’t have a product or service you can directly donate, get creative. Talk to your staff about the causes they would like to support, and get behind their efforts.
4. Get on the TV or Radio
Local radio stations are always looking for guests to talk to. Offer to be an ‘expert’ answering questions in your field, or get involved with a local cause and champion it. You might be surprised just how easy it is to get on the local radio if you have something to say or offer.
5. Stage an event
It doesn’t have to be the O2 Arena, but if you can put on some kind of entertainment and offer your customers a reduced entrance fee, or goodie bag, you’re probably on to a winner. Don’t think trade shows, think talent shows. Talk to the local college and see if they have music or drama students who might welcome the exposure.
Try these activities, and send out regular press releases, tweets and other updates about them, and when you do attract media attention, it won’t be the kind that has you running for cover.