As a small business owner, you want to get national media coverage for your business.
It’s great for your profile, your awareness levels, your credibility – and crucially it puts a rocket under your Google rankings with all those powerful backlinks to your website.
But…there is a huge difference between the national media and trade/regional media, where you may have already had some success.
It is exponentially harder to get a story into the national media. But don’t despair, there is an answer and you don’t need to spend a fortune on a PR agency.
Have a great news story
Firstly, you’ve got to have a humdinger of a story! A real first, something truly remarkable or new. A story that makes a journalist sit up and think – this appeals to ALL their readers.
National = potentially every person in the country can see your story so it needs to have either a wide interest appeal or must have some sort of significant impact on a large number of people. In other words, your story will matter to people because it is going to affect them in some way. This is the type of story that will get you national media coverage.
Remember, the media operates in a tiered system and you need to position your story within that. Stories with low ranking news value should sit on your website or on your social channels. Don’t pitch these, the journalist will just get annoyed and hit delete.
If you think your story is significant within your town or you’ve achieved something quite impressive for your area then it will be of interest to your regional media. And if you’re making a buzz within your sector then get in contact with your trade media.
But, when it’s a story with serious mass appeal, news for society on a wider scale, then your story has got what it takes to make it to the national, mainstream media. Yep, it’s time to get national media coverage.
To get national media coverage your story must…
- Have mainstream appeal beyond niche
- Have clear newness – be a first
- Be of interest to/significantly affect a large number of people
- Be a strong human interest – would connect emotionally with many
- Be unusual or truly innovative.
- Have rarity factor – you don’t read about it every day!
So you now know what type of story you need, but you’re not sure where to look to find it? Don’t worry that’s normal and one of the first issues that small businesses or entrepreneurs face.
Where do I find my news story?
We’ve got an easy to use, one-page template for you to follow called StoryFinder. It helps you look at your business from A-Z and takes you through a guided process to uncover ALL the stories. We’re not going to cover that in this blog but you can download the StoryFinder here and find out how to use it in detail here.
Let’s leap forward to when you have a great story. PLEASE don’t think the more journalists you go to the more likely you are to get a result – it’s the opposite. Be smart and strategic. This is vital if you want to get national media coverage.
Think exclusively, take the time to pitch your story to your target media. Journalists live and breathe exclusives. Knowing they are the only one with this particular piece of news is what gets them excited. And when they do have an exclusive they are much more likely to run it on a larger scale. This then gives you an opportunity to approach other outlets to get spin-off articles or coverage. But give it to everybody and you may not get any coverage at all! Tricky huh?
Having said that, and this is the nature of media work, there are exceptions to rules. If it really is just the most INCREDIBLE story that demands mass media coverage, think about sending it to your newswire; in the UK that’s the Press Association, over in the US it’s the Associated Press.
These newswires exist to send syndicated news to all mainstream media outlets – if you get on the wire, you are much more likely to get national media coverage. You pitch to them the same way you do to a normal media outlet – find the contact that is most likely to write about your story and send it in. If you want to know more about the difference between PA and AP then check out my #PRHack and if you want to nail your email pitch listen to this.
And if you have a bit of extra budget you could use one of these paid-for press release distribution services. These are 12 of the best.
So now you know how to get national media coverage, you know where to find the right stories in your business AND where to send them.
Then when you’re ready, the next step is learning how to write your story in a truly newsworthy fashion.
If you want more tips on that then check out how to write a press release.