Sally started a new business selling seashell necklaces. She embarked on this adventure with an abundance of confidence - and a tiny budget. Her allocation for advertising was sadly small, yet she needed to get the word out about her amazing shell creations.
What could she do? Get "earned media" attention.
What the heck is that? Earned media is, simply put, gaining media coverage or publicity through promotion rather than paid advertising.
Getting started on an earned media plan takes a little creative thought, but once you get going, you'll probably find that you have many viable options. There are several things Sally could do to promote her seashell business without buying paid advertising. She could:
host an educational event at her shop about sustainable seashell harvesting. This would be a way to increase awareness of seashells (and conservation) while getting people to come into her store and see what she has to offer.
invite a well-known local conch shell player to come in and do a concert.
volunteer to do a segment about identifying shells on the local TV morning show
send news releases each time her jewelry receives another award or is accepted to juried art show.
To get the media to cover a story or event, Sally needs to be sure that it is of interest to the general public. She will contact the newspapers, radio stations and TV outlets in advance, when possible, to find out who the best contact would be for the type of story she is suggesting. Then she'll write a simple news release.
A news release should include a contact name, contact information, the date, a headline or title for the event or suggested article, and then the basic who (will be interested in the story), what (is the subject), when (will it happen), where (will it occur) and why (should they cover it). Include relevant quotes and facts whenever possible, and whether there is a cost to participate if it's an event. And always include a call to action. It could be as simple as, "Call today to reserve your spot."
Sally can use earned media to raise awareness of her new business and, as business grows, she can add in paid advertising. Even on a shoestring budget though, she is a sure bet to be successful in seashell necklace sales.
Susan Reetz, of Clear Focus Media, LLC, is a writer/director/producer for film, video, web and print. Her scriptwriting and producing work has earned numerous local, national, and international awards. She also writes feature articles, annual report copy, news releases, web copy, and other promotional materials. She can be reached at 715-212-6239 or Susan@ClearFocus.Media.