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Traditional Marketing Still Rules

Traditional Marketing Still Rules

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: September 18, 2012


Have you all but given up on publicizing your small business to newspapers, TV, magazines and radio, instead focusing all your efforts on social media marketing? You could be making a big mistake. A study done this summer showed that despite the prevalence of social media, blogs and websites, Americans still find traditional media the most trustworthy source of information. Here’s what you need to know to get publicity in traditional media.

1.      Find the right media outlets to target. Determine which magazines, newspapers, radio shows or TV programs attract the largest percentage of your target market. You can get this information by contacting the media outlet and asking for their media kit and/or speaking to someone who can provide the information. Pitching your business to the wrong media will doom your efforts from the start, while finding the right fit increases your chances of success.

2.      Identify contacts within these media outlets. Read the newspaper or magazine, listen to the radio show and watch the TV program to figure out which reporters have what “beats” (areas of focus). Determine which reporter will care most about your press release, whether that’s the business editor of the local newspaper or the New Products editor of your industry’s trade magazine. The more specifically you can target reporters and editors, the better. Develop a spreadsheet listing names, email addresses and phone numbers of key contacts you want to target.

3.      Develop newsworthy angles for your press releases. There are many topics that can work for a press release—a new product or service, a new location of your business, expansion into a new market, or an anniversary are just a few. The key is tying the news you’re promoting in to what the media outlet cares about. For instance, if your company sells a baby product that just won an award from an industry organization, you would focus on different angles of the story depending on the outlet you’re targeting. A press release for a parenting magazine would focus on why the product is so great for children and what features caused you to win the award. A press release for a trade magazine would focus on the business aspect of the story, such as how your company developed the product and how it has increased your sales. If you’re targeting a newspaper, you might send one release to the business editor and a different, more consumer-oriented release to the Lifestyle editor. Search online for free press release templates you can use.

4.      Follow up. Email is generally the preferred method of contact these days. Send an email along with your press release, then follow up a few days to a week later with another email and/or a phone call. Don’t be a pest (reporters are busy), but do be persistent and professional. Realize that it often takes several press releases for your business to make an impression on busy reporters, so don’t give up.

5.      Be ready. When a reporter calls or emails you, respond quickly. If you aren’t available, identify someone else at your business who can respond to PR inquiries. Journalists are busy (and on tight deadlines) so they will move on to someone else if you don’t get back to them. Be prepared and helpful; answer all their questions and offer to provide photos or send additional materials.

Maximize results. When you do get precious publicity, make the most of it! Order reprints of the article to frame for your business establishment; send copies to key clients or prospects or incorporate them into your sales materials; ask the media outlet if you can post a link to the interview on your website (or even embed the actual video or podcast); and generally let everyone know about the positive press you’ve received. Remember, traditional media carries a lot of weight—but only if your customers know about it.

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She's been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades