Stay Visible to the Press

Small Biz Survival weekly marketing tip written and distributed by Sharron Senter of Senter & Associates

I want to share with you an awesome publicity opportunity that just happened to me, followed by a "Moral of the Story." I think we all need to be reminded to call up the media and pitch our businesses, even if you did it last week. There are tons of publications in addition to the two or three that serve your town that need your news.

My partner, Harold Belbin, and I just launched a new business called Visiting Geeks, -- an on site computer repair, firewall and networking company for businesses and power home users located north of Boston, southern NH and ME.

Just last week we started a limited advertising campaign by running a small retail ad in the north edition of the Boston Globe. The VERY next day, we received a call from our local newspaper's business reporter asking if we were available for an interview. Of course we were and landed on the front page of yesterday's business section with TWO photos; one of Harold standing with his computer tool bag in front of his car with our company sign on it. The sign has our URL and phone number which was easily readable in the newspaper. The second photo was of our two-year-old daughter inside our home. She was playing with "daddy's tools" that he uses to repair and network computers. The story ran the entire top fold, and two inches beyond the fold on the front page of the business section in The Daily News of Newburyport, Mass.

MORAL: This pleasant surprise reminds me of the basic rule of publicity; introduce yourself and ask! When we asked the reporter how she heard about us, since we hadn't yet had the opportunity to pitch ourselves, she said she saw our print ad! What's more, when the photographer showed up to take the photo, he let it slip that they were back against the wall trying to find a business story for Monday's paper. Reporters NEED an ongoing supply of stories, particularly small town local newspapers, since they're limited to writing about local news.

Here's a short list of alternative papers to pitch your business to:
- Monthly tabloid parent publications - often pull-outs of larger newspapers or free at newsstands
- College newspapers
- Weekly town newspapers
- Regional magazines. For example, in my neck of the woods we have, Boston Magazine. It's an upscale four-color glossy that has a very edgy news angle attracting a readership of men/women, 35 +, combined income of $100,000+. Most regional magazines fall under this demographic description. If this demographic matches your audience, then it makes sense for you to pitch your news to your regional publication.

Two other quick tips....
- In most instances for newspapers, it's better to contact the reporter than the editor. It's the reporter who is ultimately responsible for generating news and writing the story.
- Should you call, email or snail mail a reporter? If you have HARD news [breaking news], something extremely timely - then call. If you're going after a feature story, then pitch via email. My answers here are personal choice and what works for me.

P.S....When I was a reporter years ago for a daily newspaper, I found myself desperate for stories the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years. Pitch away!!

You may reprint any part of my free weekly Small Biz Survival marketing tip in your print or electronic newsletter, but please include the following statement: "Reprinted from Sharron Senter's free weekly marketing tip, an ezine featuring low-cost online and offline small and home-based business marketing strategies. Subscribe at and receive free Sharron's Small Biz Survival report, "20 Excuses to Send a News Brief."

Written by Sharron Senter. I specialize in helping small & home-based businesses make more money while spending very little, and I advise big businesses on how to effectively reach and communicate with their small business customers. — (978) 346-4086

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