There are three key ways to generate leads for your small business: advertising, referrals, and public relations. Most business owners are very familiar with the age-old classic of advertising and referrals is usually how most businesses really get started. But public relations is a lead generation method that is often left alone and yet is extremely powerful.
When I talk about the power of public relations, most business owners tell me they’re just not sure where to start with this gem. My recommendation is to start by listening—listening online and often and this is how you’ll get to know and establish your media list.
Here are 3 steps to building your media list:
- Identify the reporters at each publication that write on your industry. You can do this by searching for articles on that topic on the publications web site.
- Capture Contact Information. Create a spreadsheet to capture their contact information along with their Twitter handle, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and even the url location for their blog. You’ll want to record pitching preferences (by email, phone) and the best time to reach that individual. You can also use tools like Bulldog Reporter (pay as you go) or MEDIAtlas (yearly $$$ subscription) to create your media list and make distribution easier and faster.
- Follow them online. Your job is to develop a relationship with these journalists/reporters and the best way to do that is to read what they’re writing. And start commenting and even sharing their posts. Offer comments that are educational and add to the discussion to help them identify that you, are an expert in your area.
The ultimate goal here is to establish a professional relationship with these reporters so that you are seen as a person of knowledge and a ‘go to’ expert for comments and assistance with research for future articles.
Take the tips above and start building your media contact list. Getting mentions from journalists and reporters is a powerful way to kick up your lead generation because journalists who mention you as an expert are essentially a third party endorsement of you and your knowledge.
Use the comments section below to tell us about any successes you’ve had with your public relations endeavors.