Friday, April 20, 2007

Straight Talk on Small Business PR

I just dashed off a few words of advice to a Canadian entrepreneur who was looking for coverage from the Canadian business media.

Since his company is fairly small and not publicly traded, I told him he faces an uphill battle. For the most part, the media aren't interested in good news about small businesses. It just doesn't fit into their shrinking news holes or their and two-dimensional views of what constitutes "news."

This entrepreneur was mentioned recently in PROFIT Magazine, so it encouraged him to look at other magazines. Here is what I told him.

I think you need a stronger news angle. [Certain unnamed other magazines] are not out to educate their readers or build a stronger business sector, like PROFIT; they're in the news business, which means they focus on conflict and controversy. If you could tie the book to something else that's going on - a big contract, a new campaign, some specific industry initiative you're working on or a big windmill you're fighting - they would be much more interested. In which case, you should try to contact the editor, and then deal with whoever they give you.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. But to get into the media, you have to think like the media. And it isn't always pretty.

The bottom line is just as marketing expert George Torok mentioned in his comment to my post last week on Dragons' Den: You have to think like your customers. And they're always asking: What's In It for Me?

When you're looking for PR, the media - as confused and contradictory as they are - become your customer.


teresa said...


I think your friend is limiting himself by pitching 'good news' stories on his company to traditional media only.

He can get amazing results by pitching online publications and social media. He should, however, be sure his pitches are 'buzz worthy' when contacting social media outlets.

George Torok said...


I agree. Most of the media loves conflict and controversy.

Just skim the headlines of the daily paper or look at the line-up for the 6:00 TV news.

And it's not the media's fault. That is what the public buys.

George Torok
Secrets of Power Marketing