Getting your business in the news for the right reasons isn’t as difficult as it sounds. There will be scores of news items sitting right under your nose now and taking place in your workplace every day, you just won’t have recognised them.
If you go home and tell your family or friends about something that happened in the business that day, this is generally a good yardstick that it’s newsy and worthy of passing onto others – but please draw the line at office gossip!
Here are ten suggestions which might apply to your business or be worth considering for future publicity purposes:
1. People news – staff promotions, newly-acquired qualifications, internal re-organisations, new arrivals, recruitment drives, staff appointments to professional bodies or local voluntary groups. Staff make your organisation tick and people like reading about other people. These all provide valid news opportunities. Not only that, the majority of staff will be motivated by seeing themselves in the local business pages or mentioned on your website’s news section. It can be a great boost for morale.
2. New business – winning a new contract, securing a lengthier deal, working in a new sector or in a new part of the UK or even overseas, all warrant news – if you are in a position to share this information. All will build confidence in your company and spread the word that your business is performing well and strengthening its position.
3. CSR news – corporate social responsibility is the new buzz phrase but it’s not to be taken lightly. More and more companies are turning their CSR activities into meaningful and worthwhile exercises – most of which provide excellent news items. A link with charity is the most obvious one which will in itself generate many promotional opportunities. There will be plenty of other activities that should be highlighted and shouted about.
4. Business change – expansion, consolidation, moving into new territory, changing premises – again all valid news items which are good to share with others and make people aware of. Don’t presume everyone knows you have a new head office or you’ve just opened another branch 20 miles away – you need to tell them. And on a positive note, all of these activities reflect further investment in your business which is always a good message to put out.
5. Awards – many companies shy away from awards. This could be a missed opportunity. Many awards are free to enter and provide perfect opportunities to showcase your company to others within your business sector or, in the case of more general awards, to an even wider audience and potential future customer base. There are scores of awards for both B2B and B2C. The secret is to find the most relevant and effective one in which to promote yourself. And don’t just pin your hopes on winning; use your entry for self-promotion beforehand and follow up afterwards. Best case scenario – you’re a winner; worse case scenario – you don’t win but will still receive comments from judges which you can use to endorse your entry over and over again through your website, in press releases, company brochure, and so on.
6. Comment – as an expert in your particular sector your opinion will be as valid as anyone’s. Why not use it? You may have something controversial to say or bring a new view to an existing industry story. Either way, be bold enough to take a stance (providing it doesn’t injure your company’s reputation) and stick by it. By putting yourself forward when there is a topical item in the news, you start to become an ‘expert’ and a reputable commentator in your field. Before you know it, news gatherers will be coming to you for the next comment, before you even have time to send out a release!
7. When the chips are down – life in business isn’t always a bed of roses. When times are tough it’s important not to lose face and reputation. Things may not be quite going according to plan behind the scenes but it’s essential that it’s ‘business as usual’ when you’re talking to the external world. Consistent messages in news items and consistent news items, if you do already send out regular material, should be maintained as possible. These will support you through any blips and help keep up your external guard.
8. Milestones – don’t miss any opportunity to flag up company anniversaries or special long service awards. Think outside your company too – does the sector you work in have any special ‘national’ theme days or significant diary events you can make use of for your own promotion.
9. Piggybacking – don’t be afraid to make use of items already hitting the headlines. A national or international event or news piece may link directly or indirectly to your business. Make sure you use it to gain maximum ‘positive’ publicity locally or within your target audience.
10. Surveys and statistics – you will probably have worked this one out for yourselves already, journalists love a good survey, and if it’s got lots of lovely statistics and percentages in too, even better! Take a look within your own organisation, are there any in-house surveys you have to hand you can share with the wider public? Are there any you receive from trade associations and groups within your sector which would make interesting reading? How many of us can’t resist the ‘Did you know…’ articles? The majority of these are borne out of surveys and findings. It just needs a bit of imaginative thinking to turn round the dullest set of figures to provide some startling information and trivia which people will love to read. Indirectly, it’s a chance to get your company name out there again.
And if you get into the news for the wrong reasons…
Don’t ignore it and pretend it hasn’t happened because you can bet readers or listeners on the receiving end won’t!
If the news is inaccurate, you can put the record straight. If the negative message about your company is justified, it may be best to put your hands up, come clean and provide a proper explanation for it and say how you plan to rectify the situation and make things better.