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National Restaurant Association - 7 ways for small businesses to boost news coverage

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7 ways for small businesses to boost news coverage

National Restaurant Association research shows that seven in 10 restaurants are single-unit operations. Being a small business often means you have limited resources, but it doesn’t have to mean that you have less of a voice in the news media. 

Whether you’re participating in a national campaign or just want to keep your name top of mind with consumers, you can get your name out there without spending a lot of time or money. In previous articles, we covered the basics of interacting with news media proactively and reactively – here are some additional tricks of the trade to get the most out of your news media outreach:

Seize every opportunity. Sending a news release or responding to an inquiry is not the only way to engage with news media. Sign up for a free service like HelpAReporter.com or PitchRate.com to get daily emails of reporters looking for sources on a variety of topics.

Post your news online. While sending news releases directly to reporters is important, also posting it online can help get the word out further. There are several free tools available for posting news releases online, which helps get better pick-up in search engines; reporters Google things just like the rest of us. Also post news releases on your website and provide links on social media.

Put your announcements in context. Journalists are more likely to use a news release if it connects to a wider story idea, so think of how your news fits into the bigger picture. For example, if you announce that you have added new healthful menu items, include the reasons why you did that, such as consumer trends, guest requests and commitment to kids’ nutrition.

Don’t ignore bloggers. Blogs can be as well-read as traditional news outlets, so spend some time identifying who blogs in your community. You can often find links through other social media outlets, or use one of the many available online blog directories.

Connect with journalists on social media. Many journalists are active on social media, specifically Twitter. Their Twitter handles are oftentimes listed along with their bylines or elsewhere on the media outlet’s website, or you can use an online directory to find them. Consider using hashtags to join conversations on Twitter, as writers often use these to find sources for stories.

Know who you’re pitching. Tailor pitches to individuals rather than sending mass emails. While it might take a few more minutes, it makes reporters more likely to pay attention to what you’re saying. Review their recent articles to get a sense of what and how they like to cover local news and angle your pitch accordingly – nothing turns journalists off more than getting pitches that are not relevant them.

Tell your community story. When participating locally in larger campaigns (like Small Business Saturday), think of specific ways your business fits into it and tell your unique story to news media. For example, are you a multigeneration family business? Do you and your employees participate in community service activities?

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