Kit Reaux, GoodFriend Pro
Making the evening news is an excellent way to gain publicity for your business, but it takes some work to be considered newsworthy. According to PBS Newshour, there are five key elements that make a story newsworthy: timeliness, proximity, conflict/controversy, human interest, and relevance. With these elements in mind, here are some ways to get the free publicity that comes along with being featured on a news segment.
Build a relationship with the media
First thing’s first, you have to get a contact at your local stations. Watch the news channels in your area to determine which ones would work best for you as a guest. Avoid the more intense news stations and make contact with stations that focus more on community issues, educational segments, or a pet of the week. Once you have the stations narrowed down, reach out to the station or, even better, specific reporters that do lighter news stories and segments. Let them know that you’re open to stopping by or for a soundbite on pet-related stories.
Raise awareness for relevant issues
As a pet professional, you have a wealth of knowledge on petcare that is valuable to pet parents. Become your local expert for all things grooming, training, vet care, etc. There are a number of topics that can be news segments. Seasonal stories related to pet safety tend to have the most pickup by news stations.
Ex: Fireworks pet safety around the 4th of July and New Year’s celebrations, Halloween pet safety, extreme hot and cold weather etc.
Give back to the community
Use your knowledge, skillset or facility to support a local cause. The news coverage will help your community, the cause as well as your business. Offer to groom or train local shelter dogs, use your facility to host an adoption event, a bath-a-thon for charity, or as a drop off location for pet supplies. These events will allow you to connect with your community of pet lovers and volunteers help to promote the program or event.
Put the fluff in “fluff piece”
Sometimes, between the doom and gloom of the regular news, viewers just want to see a cute pup. Fluff pieces are light news stories meant to be cute, funny, or heartwarming. As a pet professional, you have access to plenty of cute, funny and heartwarming stories! Something as simple as holding an ugly Christmas sweater day at a dog daycare facility can put your business front and center.
Keep at it
Though getting on the news may seem like something exclusive or difficult, it's really just a matter of making connections with your community and local media, presenting relevant stories, keeping an eye out for opportunities to be featured, and overall — persistence. With some research and practice, you’d be surprised how newsworthy your business can be!