Author: Teresa Johnson
Your business is benefiting from archery’s exploding popularity. Your store’s benefit shoot is raising money for a good cause. You’re also offering a bowhunter safety course next month.
These great events and accomplishments might be newsworthy, so don’t assume you need a public-relations degree to generate publicity and coverage for them. You just need some common sense, and a little research and networking.
Of course, that begs the question: Why bother with traditional media if you’re already doing social media? Simple: News that includes free advertising is the best kind because it’s locally or regionally based, and it gets archery in front of audiences you want to reach. Why not spend a few minutes pitching your news when it’s interesting and relevant to your community?
If you’re located in a large city, locate the reporter who covers local baseball, basketball and football games, and contact the person. Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard/ATA
Here’s an easy how-to lesson on leveraging local relationships for some sweet press coverage.
1. Find Your Contacts
First, determine which news outlets – newspapers, local cable channels or state/regional magazines – would most likely cover your event or story. Is your store in a rural or suburban area with a weekly or daily newspaper? If so, its focus is most likely local news, and the news editor or sports desk should be your first point of contact.
If you’re in a bigger city, don’t sweat it. Instead, read the newspaper or magazine, locate the reporter who covers local baseball, basketball and football games, and contact the person. Note: If a journalist previously called you to discuss archery, return the favor. Contact that person first. In all cases, send an email to contact the journalist, and follow up with one brief phone call. If you get turned down, try again when you have another idea.
Pitch story ideas that appeal to the journalist’s audience, whether it’s an announcement about the start of youth archery classes or a story about your business’s growth. Photo Credit: ATA
2. What is the media outlet’s strongest focus?
If it’s a local business journal, a story about your business’s growth might make a compelling topic. An outdoors columnist might want to write about the increase in female hunters attending your bowhunter safety course. And a brief announcement about the start of youth archery classes might be perfect for a local activities listing. Pitch story ideas that appeal to the journalist’s audience. Demonstrate that you’ve studied their show or publication, and know what’s likely to score ink.
3. Keep it Short and Sweet
If you’re emailing or calling a journalist with your pitch, get to the point, and offer info that’s accurate and verifiable. With email, make your subject line short but impactful. Communicate why the story matters to the journalist and their audience. For example, tell a business writer that you have a compelling story about archery growth in your community and how it’s affecting the local economy; including your business, camps and clubs, and other related companies. Provide statistics and quantifying statements to add substance to your pitch, but make sure the numbers are verified. Most writers will fact-check this information, and you’ll destroy your credibility – and the story idea – if you provide incorrect numbers.
Whether you pitch a story about an influx in hipster hunters to your store, or you’re marketing your awesome youth programs, close your conversation by offering help the next time the journalist covers archery. Photo Credit: Paul Sherar/ATA
4. Provide Multimedia Opportunities
Providing multimedia support for a story is huge, whether it’s for print or electronic media. Articles with video, audio and photos will more likely get consideration than those without. And if you’re promoting your business in the process, what better way to advertise than giving prospective customers a firsthand look at your offerings? If you have professional-quality photos of your business (even if they’re taken by you or a customer who’s good with a camera), offer them to your media contact. And if you don’t have photos or video, invite the journalist to come out with a photographer or video crew when your store does something fun and relevant. In fact, offering journalists an archery lesson is a great way to help them cover and understand your business – and archery. Multimedia assets can help seal the deal by bringing your store to life, and the coverage will be a point of pride for your customers.
Whether you pitch a story about an influx in hipster hunters to your store, or you’re marketing your awesome youth programs, close your conversation by offering help the next time the journalist covers archery. You’ll be surprised how often those contacts help in the future!