Why Media Relations is Your Missing Piece to Success

By Kevin Huhn

Do you make media matter in your business?

You are probably wondering, ‘What does that mean exactly?’ When you look up the website of a publicly-traded company, you most often find a media relations department. On their website or in their annual report are contact details for media to reach them. They may also include the latest announcements of their business.

But if you are not a publicly-traded company, why would you need a media relations department? You are not going to share stock splits, your year-end financials or new hire announcements with the general public, right?

And, if you are a small business with 19 employees or less, then you are part of the 86.2% of all businesses in Canada according to figures from Statistics Canada.

So why would you even think about media, when you probably have barely enough staff to deliver your goods or services to your clients? Have you ever stopped to think about why a big company has a media relations department? Or why would the media need to reach out to a publicly traded corporation?

Through my research around the world, I have discovered that the gaps that most business owners face today are:
a) You know you have a great product / service, but the marketplace does not really know who you are.
b) You do not have the deep pockets to spend on sharing your message.
c) You have the money to spend on advertising sharing your message but you are concerned that you will not be able to stand out from your competitors.

Time to Make Media Matter

1) Who else cares about your product or service offering?
2) Who can help you share the value of what you do?
3) Who can position you as the trusted source for people to trust and reach out to?

If you were to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on advertising, you would rely on various details to create success. Producing good ad copy also depends on placement, frequency, size, accompanying photos, ad duration, colors, location and timing or seasonality. Your success is dependent on how well you test all of these criteria.

The number one reason businesses fail is that they run out of cash. It takes money to run a business. Once you make one sale, you will only last as long as the revenue coming in allows you to have cashflow for you to continue to service your clients.

So what can you do?

For the past 20 years I studied and researched a marketing strategy that most business owners fail to incorporate in their overall marketing plans – media relations.

Let’s go back to the publicly traded company scenario. Why do they have a media relations department?
If you said, “to get a message out,” then you are bang on! Now why would they need to get a message out to media?

Here is where it gets interesting.

Q: What does a publicly traded company rely on besides sales?
A: The selling of its shares to the public

Q: Who sells the shares to the public?
A: Stockbrokers

Q: Where can stockbrokers go for information about a company?
A: One key source – the media.

A company wants to share with the public what is going on in their company so that their stock can be sold. That is where media becomes a benefit to the company.

If a company does not have much going on (i.e. no news to report), how attractive would that company be to a stockbroker, who by the way, represents possible investors?

What does this have to do with your business?

Do you want to have distinction in the marketplace? Would you like to have quality credibility? Is it important to attract prospects so you have the opportunity to turn them into a client?

Imagine for a minute that you are a potential client to your own company. You come face to face with an advertisement about your company’s product or service. What is the first thought in your head?

It is just an ad of a company selling its wares. It may or may not catch your attention. Either way, you will not give it much value and therefore that article will certainly not have credibility.

Now what if you picked up a newspaper or magazine and see a headline that catches your attention. It is an article not an advertisement. The article is about a subject you like. The journalist has interviewed a business owner and the business owner shares some nuggets that interest you. What is the first thing that goes through your mind?

The content was informative. The person speaking is perceived as “an expert.” You make the assumption that person has credibility.

This assumption has you give value you in the article, which you may decide to retain the information. Why? Because you believe this has value and the person being featured could be of assistance to you in the near or distant future as someone credible and worth trusting.

You can’t buy credibility; you earn it

Advertising is merely you reaching out with a message and paying for space to share that message. There is no credibility. Your offer is looked upon to the average person as an ad.

Media relations, on the other hand, provide a message that engages an audience’s attention with a story angle and not a selling one.

The media outlet then positions your information as content, indirectly positioning you as the expert, to a targeted audience open to listening, reading or watching. They give them a story. Credibility is provided – exposure is not bought but earned.

In short, that is how you “Make Media Matter!”

Media outlets are businesses with a wealth of resources including people and knowledge. If you give them what they want such as a message, the facts and good content, they will give you what you want in terms of credibility and awareness in the marketplace. There is no relationship for your business like that of your relationship with the media to help you rise above the noise.

Kevin Huhn is the Founder of Be Your Best Today and through its mission wants to help business owners reinvent their brand with proven systems, programs and products that engage, empower and enlighten in order to impact their rate of success. To learn more visit kevinhuhn.com

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