You may not think there is a story there, you may just think that you’re just another Jo(sephine) trying to make it as a small business owner. Maybe you are… Or maybe, you’re Jo(sephine) spouse, entrepreneur, parent and active volunteer superstar.
She looks up at me over the hot stove, I sit across from Jo(sephine) in her north Portland home. She’s stirring tonights dinner that anxiously bubble in the pot. Kids come running through, the baby starts to fuss in the high chair and she refills him on cheerios. The phone rings to her office line, she takes a moment to collect herself and answers the phone, “Little Stars Photography!”.
“When the call comes in, my heart always gets a little heavier” Josephine explains. Talking about the calls that come in from fellow volunteers asking if she is available to go to Southwest Medical Hospital on Mill Plain. She’s going because someones little one won’t be coming home from the maternity ward. Someones heart has just broken when all around others celebrate. Josephine leaves her own husband and three childern to honor and document this short life. She does this purely as a service hoping to offer some comfort to parents who barely got to say hello….
Can you see that story? Could you see such a story in your local family magazine or in your local community newspaper. I’m of course not suggesting The New York Times but I am suggesting looking to publicize your business and the events that you’re involved in with smaller circulating publications.
Offering service in your community is a wonderful opportunity to also gain publicity for your business. Of course I’m not suggesting that be the root of your intentions, but even if it is… Would it really be that awful? Far more heinous things have been done for publicity then kindness!
So now that your brilliant wheels are turning…
Let’s talk about how to present yourself to the publication. My first and most crucial tip applies to everything in life from your honey to your client to the editor…. Always present the subject as ‘here’s what I can do for you’ not (ever, ever) ‘here’s what you can do for me’. With that in mind…
1. Start with an idea. Brainstorm what a good angle might be that a publication would be interested in.
2. Do some research. You’ll save yourself the embarrassment of looking ill-informed and un-prepared by being familiar with the publication.
3. Prepare your story or pitch along with any other things that might be needed such as photography (that should be easy for us) source information, etc. Remember – you’re looking to make this effortless for them.
4. Contact the appropriate editor. I would suggest an email introduction to start. Don’t offer your pitch only your appreciation for the publication, her work and your interest in working with her and that you will follow up with a phone call the next day.
5. Give a ring. Contact the editor, don’t go right into what you want. This is a sure way to get them tuned out from you and into the You Tube video they’re secretly watching about kittens. Instead mention a recent article you really enjoyed and express why, then offer that you might have a story that they would be interested in. “You’ll be working with the local humane society next month for a charity drive and thought since you knew they were such dog lovers that they might particularly like what you guys are planning.”
6. Follow up! Nagging (in a really polite and positive way) brings you back up the priority ladder on the to-do list so don’t be afraid to follow up, but try to have something new to offer with your follow up. Not, ‘did you get my last email.’
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