For the Press

6 little-known ways to get your company’s name in the news

ROCHESTER, NY – An award-winning publicist and author of a how-to publicity book for small businesses says it’s easier than most business owners think to get their names in the news regularly.

“You have to stop waiting for the press to discover you,” advises Sandra Beckwith, author of Streetwise Complete Publicity Plans: How to Create Publicity That Will Spark Media Exposure and Excitement. “Start telling them what you’re doing that’s newsworthy. It will help you generate the media exposure that gives companies credibility and increased awareness.”

Beckwith offers the following tips for becoming more newsworthy:

Contact the press immediately when you can offer a local angle on a national news story. News outlets love to localize a national story. Fax your one-page narrative biography (not a resume) and a cover letter explaining your position on the breaking news to the appropriate media contact (for example, TV news assignment editors) or copy the information and paste it into an e-mail message.

Add the media to your e-newsletter distribution list. The same useful advice or information you offer in your electronic newsletter could be of interest to reporters covering that topic. Include both local and national media outlets read, watched or listened to by your target audience.

Capitalize on holidays and special weeks or months by distributing a press release with useful, newsworthy information related to the topic. For example, a cardiologist interested in attracting female patients can distribute a release with the warning signs of heart disease in women during National Heart Month in February.

Conduct a newsworthy and relevant survey and announce the interesting results in a press release. A restaurant might survey community members about whether they plan to dine out more or less this year; a health club might do a survey on the top reasons why people hate to exercise. Both have news value.

Partner with the public relations department of your industry’s trade association by offering to make yourself available for media interviews. Association public relations people are often contacted by writers looking for members with a particular expertise to interview. Make sure your association knows about you, what makes your business interesting, and the topics you can comment on, and you’ll get referral calls.

Sponsor an attention-getting contest and announce the results in a press release. To promote a newsletter she publishes that takes a lighthearted look at male behavior, Beckwith conducted a national “Worst Gift from a Man Contest.” The press release announcing the winners led to nationwide media attention, including a holiday appearance on a national cable TV talk show. A hardware store could sponsor a “Most Innovative Use of a Tool” competition while a bridal salon could initiate a “Worst Wedding Horror Story” contest.

Streetwise Complete Publicity Plans: How to Create Publicity That Will Spark Media Exposure and Excitement gives small business owners the tools and techniques for generating media attention for their companies, their products and themselves. The book’s user-friendly format makes it easy for organizations to learn how to generate the buzz that sets them apart from the competition. It includes small business examples; samples of key tools such as press releases, pitch letters and press kit components; and forms and checklists that guide the publicity-making process. For more information, go to

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