By by Kahlia Hannah
Have you priced big media ads lately? Yikes! A big ad in your daily newspaper can run you a couple thousand bucks. Radio commercials, which used to be cheap, can cost several hundred dollars each. And let’s not even talk about the price of TV commercials.
Expensive media advertising is great if you can afford it, but you may not have to pay a cent to get covered big time by big time media. Each day thousands of media outlets give away millions in news coverage, promotional tie-ins, and adlibed plugs.
It doesn’t matter if you are a small business that can’t afford advertising or a larger firm who could use a boost to your existing marketing budget. Going after no-cost media coverage is an important effort that will pay huge dividends over time.
Here is how to get your share of the free media bonanza:
1. Most media need a steady stream of prizes to give away. Radio stations offer free items to listeners. Newspapers give bonus prizes to their delivery people. Rather than buy prizes, most media like to get them from businesses in return for a free mention on air or in print.
Kevin Nunley of DrNunley.com tells the story of a radio station that offered free ads for someone to remove the snow from their parking lot. “A guy with a tractor showed up, removed the snow,and we immediately started giving expensive commercial slots away to the guy’s little snow removal company.”
Some media may require you to buy advertising before they will give away your products or services. Once you figure in all the free mentions you will get on air or in the paper, the cost of the ads may turn out to be quite cheap.
2. Send out your own press release. I like to call media in my town and tell the reporter the meat of my interesting story or information. Get right to the juicy part. If your information relates in some way to a story that is already in the news, tell the reporter.
Then I email and fax a copy of my press release. Make sure you include phone numbers where you can be reached at a moment’s notice. The reporter will often think of follow-up questions that need to be answered immediately.
While you’re at it, have a PR service email your press release to media nationwide. You can’t imagine all the radio, TV, and newspaper outlets who need a story like yours right now. More on tips about how to do this at my MarketingHelp.NET site.
3. Get on talk radio. It is super easy. All you need is some information the general public would find interesting or helpful. It doesn’t matter where you get your information. Most likely it is something you know from your work, but you could just as easily spend an afternoon at the public library boning up on the subject.
Listen to the talk show a few times before you call. Call early in the show before everyone gets interested and starts calling. Wait for a topic that relates to your information, then call.
You can also call or email the host or producer and suggest yourself as an expert. This isn’t being egotistical or pushy. Radio talk hosts need a steady supply of interesting guests. When you suggest yourself you help the host do her job.
Kahlia Hannah provides marketing advice and popular promotion packages.