You have a great business and a great new product and you really want to be featured in TechCrunch or “insert name here” publication.
But here’s the thing—so does everyone else. The more prominent the blogger or media outlet, the harder it is to get noticed.
Although the PR industry hasn’t entirely come to grips with it, the age of skillfully crafted press release has gone the way of the dodo bird.
If you’re a small business owner and you’re trying to get some love from bloggers or the main stream media, you’re going to have to try something different.
That’s just what the folks at virtual business phone system Grasshopper.com did when they were trying to generate some buzz for their Entrepreneur Movement.
As the story goes, they FedEx’ed 5000 chocolate covered grasshoppers to some of the most influential people in America, including bloggers, politicians, celebrities, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, journalists, reporters, and TV anchors. Their campaign was a huge success. A risky call to try something unconventional, but it worked.
Luckily, it doesn’t take a direct mail campaign of chocolate covered grasshoppers that would have made even Gary Halbert proud, to get noticed.
The biggest problem with press releases is they’re almost always a shameless self-promotion focused solely on your company or your product.
If what you have is a true game changer, something that has never done before, then you might have some luck.
If not, you’re always much better off pitching a story or idea based on your unique industry perspective or thought leadership. That way you’re able to establish yourself as a subject matter expert while at the same time getting your company some exposure when you’re cited in the article or blog post.
The other problem with press releases is they’re almost always a cookie cutter, ineffectively broadcasting the same pitch to as many people as possible with the hopes that something will stick.
If you want to get any kind of traction, you need to customize each pitch—show you’ve read his or her work, understand the subject areas he or she typically writes about, and include some content that draws a connection with what you’re hoping to talk about.
Generating buzz means you have to take some chances. That might mean trying something unconventional or putting in the extra time and effort that will help you craft the perfect pitch.
As you think about your outreach strategy, it’s okay to dream big. In fact, it’s an absolute must. You have to be willing to swing for the fences—to go after Mashable or TechCrunch or “insert name here.” But, at the same time, don’t forget about the bloggers. In many cases, they can be highly influential in your unique industry or subject area and can generate just as many clicks as a mention in some of the more traditional media outlets.
Have you generated buzz for your small business?
Share your tips and tricks below.
As a disclaimer, I use affiliate links for some of the products listed. They are all products I absolutely love and trust and would recommend regardless of whether they have an affiliate program.
By: Shawn Graham
[Image: Flickr user Ernst Moeksis]