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5 benefits of a calendar for an SME

The easiest way for a small business to get itself into the media is on the back of someone else’s news

The easiest way for a small business to get itself into the media is on the back of someone else’s news.  All you need is the crystal ball to tell you what the news is going to be.

JournoLink has created just that in launching a calendar for small businesses covering  events, awards programmes, key dates, and charity initiatives that are relevant for small businesses.

Here’s how to get the best out of it and enhance your business profile in the media.

Put in place a five point plan.

1.  Think about the types of media you want to get into. There are four that you might want to target:

·  Nationals are the ones that cover main news stories and will be interested in a small business comment. The day before the Governments statistics on employment are launched, any business commenting that they have taken on staff as their business grows will be of interest for instance. But it could be inflation, or export that you might have a story on. Match this to the Inflation or Trade figure releases.

·  Regionals are the ones with a real interest in their local economy and are always keen for good news stories and local businesses ready to position themselves as commentators on national stories.

·  Trade journalists are interested in the latest news about their sector. A new product launch or research that will make a difference. 

·  Lifestyle journalists who will focus on day to day interest topics. The top gift for Christmas for example, or how to lose weight for the summer holiday beach.

2. Really challenge yourself on what news or commentary you can add to that you would be interested to read about in a newspaper. 

This could be:

·  A major event that you are part of.

·  A component or contribution that you make for a something which is in the news.

·  An expert opinion that you can give for something in the news or a forthcoming event. How to get fit for the Tour of Britain, or what diet you should have during physical stress for example.

·  Something specific to your business that even your cynical neighbour would be interested to read.

3.  Scan the calendar to see where you might have an angle.

·  Think what might be a good addition to a journalists article. Someone writing about the Boat Show for instance might be interested in the latest waterproof seating, or how to avoid sea sickness for instance. Think laterally.

·  Time your news well. Don’t wait until the day itself. Put your news out several days beforehand. Take the lead from JournoLink. For Christmas for instance, the end of September is starting to be too late for many of the journalists.

·  Make sure the issue or event you are linking to is in your headline.

·  Be provocative in the headline and first paragraph, to grab the interest of the journalists.

·  Make sure your news release is well written and relevant. Don’t write War and Peace.

·  Include a relevant, high resolution image.

4.  Make the most of Awards Programmes. There are hundreds. But be targeted.

·  Be realistic. If you are a small retail shop, don’t waste time pitching against Waitrose for Supermarket of the Year. Go for the sector awards where you have a realistic chance.

·  Think local. It is generally just as valuable to will a local award, as that’s where the local interest will be.

·  Pick awards with newspaper sponsors. Shortlisted and winning businesses will be guaranteed media coverage.

·  Make your pitch good…there are businesses whose life it is to help you with your submission.

·  Make the most of pumping out news releases relating to how you are doing. You will even get interest from a sponsoring newspaper journalists simply for issuing a comment about ‘Why we are entering’. But certainly make the most of shortlisting and winning.

5.  10 minutes every week

Have a dedicated 10 minutes each week to check out the calendar as it gets released on a Monday. Make it the job of a junior member of staff (if you are so lucky!) to come up with suggestions. At least one a month, and spend even just a few minutes pushing out a news release or comment.

If just one every three catches the eye of a journalists, that would be four media mentions a year, improved SEO and that all important sales growth.

Whoever thought using someone else’s news could boost your sales!

Use JournoLink to get your stories in the press

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