The Power of PR: Why Media Relations Brings Value to Your Business and How Simple It Can Be
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Building great relationships is paramount to building a successful business. For many, this is no secret. It’s how many leading business owners attract new clientele, manage customer relations, and differentiate themselves from their competition. At the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ), building great relationships is a focused effort that surrounds our beneficiaries, donors, volunteers, advocates, and our local media partners. Yes, local media partners make our list! Why? Let us count the ways…
Local journalists are endlessly hunting for their next lead, especially as it relates to the businesses, events, and people who read their content. They want to connect their readers and viewers to the real (read: not fake) news happening in their neighborhood and the many great things that local business owners and non-profits like our own are working hard to accomplish! Whether it’s launching a new product, hosting an exciting event, or announcing an important initiative, dedicating time to building that relationship with your local news reporters builds brand awareness in a way that you can control.
It can also lead to exciting partnerships! At FBSJ, we host an annual fundraising event, the Food Bank Hunger Games, in which we invite local corporations to battle it out in a fast-paced cooking competition in front of a crowd of friends and fans. It’s a fun-filled event made that much more special thanks to relationships we hold with key media partners and influencers including Tammy Paolino of the Courier-Post (the fifth largest newspaper in the state) who has served as our unofficial head judge for the past five years dedicating time to scrupulously covering the competition from every angle for their many readers, and Bill Anderson of Fox29 who emcees the event while live-streaming video and posting photos to his 20,000 social media followers.
For FBSJ, their efforts are immeasurably impactful to our mission, helping us to build awareness and better fundraising opportunities without breaking the bank. For many business owners however, seeing the value in media relations may feel far-fetched especially when it means allocating valuable time and resources to an endeavor that doesn’t immediately translate to dollars and cents. But it doesn’t have to feel like an overwhelming undertaking. By integrating a few simple practices in your usual routines, business owners can create new opportunities for increased brand exposure, awareness, and recognition.
First thing’s first: if your business isn’t already represented on social media – get connected and start sharing your news there! Journalists often comb their social media connections for potential story leads, making your newsworthy content immediately accessible not only to reporters but potential consumers, as well!
Once connected, social media platforms such as Twitter can serve dual purpose as a helpful resource for identifying reporters and the stories they cover in your local area. Start building a contact list with these new names to keep on hand for when you’re ready to start outreaching these new contacts.
Sending media alerts and/or press releases to these newfound contacts is the first step in building a relationship with local media contacts and keeping them informed about what’s happening with your business. Media alerts are perfect for articulating the basics around an event, while press releases provide pertinent details and quotes around a particular announcement that a reporter can extrapolate and use as a baseline for their coverage. While not all reporters may pick up the story, the simple outreach can start a relationship with local media outlets that may cover your business for future opportunities.
Starting a conversation is the first step in building better relationships with your local media can lead to bigger and better opportunities for your business, and so can staying connected with local resources such as your local chamber of commerce, local rotaries, and other area organizations like SNJBP! Staying connected is the first (and best) step in building better relationships that can make a difference for your business.
In your quest for better media relations it’s important to remember the power in staying connected to your community, by engaging with local non-profits (like FBSJ!), community fundraisers, and volunteerism efforts. More involvement not only contributes to the health of your community, but it also provides increased visibility for your business.
The bottom-line: stay connected and engaged! By building better relationships, you can create big opportunities – we guarantee it!
Story By Lauren Hann, Food Bank of South Jersey