We all know how important it is to get your work featured. I’m excited to introduce Sasha Vasilyuk to all of you, the CEO and Founder of I DO PR to talk more about what media attention can do for your business.
Getting featured on TV or on the pages of a glossy can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. That is why so many companies – from solo professionals to Fortune 500 kahunas – seek positive coverage in the media.
In the wedding industry, things are no different. No top wedding planner you’ve ever heard of got to the top without the help of the media. And there is nothing stopping you from sharing in the limelight. However, before you go jumping into a full media blitz mode, it’s important to remember that media attention should never be the goal in itself. Successful entrepreneurs who keep the growth of their business top of mind always think of media as one tool in their marketing toolbox.
That’s why we always begin working with a new client by asking them to outline their larger marketing goals and how they expect media exposure to contribute to them. As you read through what media attention can realistically do for your business, ask yourself if you want to increase business inquiries, expand to a new geographical area, reach a new demographic (with bigger wedding budgets, perhaps), or increase your sales conversions. Media can help with all of these, but knowing your main business goal will help you be more strategic in your approach.
Here is what media attention can do for your business.
Widen Your Reach
One of the most common goals we see among wedding pros has to do with their target audience. Many want to simply get more bookings. Others want to raise prices and attract clients with bigger budgets. Yet others are moving to a different state or want to travel and need to reach those customers who live elsewhere. No matter the specifics, essentially they all want to reach a new market that doesn’t yet know about them.
Media is great for that. Getting featured in a local newspaper or TV station can exponentially widen your reach and bring you customers who wouldn’t have otherwise known about your business. Widely read wedding blogs and national wedding magazines are much more targeted toward currently engaged couples and can also give your business a much wider reach. However, a well-read local bridal publication, such as New York Weddings for example, can be the best of both worlds as it targets clients looking for you in your geographical area.
Media is one of the primary tools that help businesses widen their reach and find new customers. But it can also help in other ways.
Contrary to common belief, media attention is not a sales tool. While you may get new clients from a media feature, chances are just as likely that you will not. At least, not right away and not just from one feature. However, what that one feature will undoubtedly do is help build up your reputation.
Unlike paid advertising, being featured editorially (i.e. for free) means that the journalists or producers found you and your business worthy of their readers’ time. That is a huge public statement of trust and you should use it to your best advantage by making it a visible part of your marketing. Reputable publications can help you attract higher quality clients and bring you potential partners and referrals. All good things, right?
Become an Expert
Speaking of the industry, media features are an important part of whether or not you are viewed as an expert in your field. Just think about the top wedding planners you know – the more they get invited to expound their ideas in the media, the more their reputation as wedding industry experts grows. The same can be true of you. You know how to do things that many other people (especially journalists) do not. They need your expertise just as much as you need their testimonial. While you may not be getting invited on the Today Show right away (sorry!), there are actually tons of opportunities, especially online, to offer your expertise in the form of quotes or whole guest posts.
Positioning yourself as an expert can help not only grow your business, but also open up doors to opportunities you may not be aware of, such as speaking engagements at big conferences.
Grease the Wheels
As I mentioned earlier, the bad news is that media is not a sales tool. Don’t expect one magazine article to immediately bring you hundreds of new, perfectly qualified customers eager to hand you a check. However, the good news is that you can use that article to make it work for you for years to come.
By sharing your press features on your website, on social media, on your office walls or in your printed portfolio, you’re adding the most powerful testimonial there can be. Seeing that press badge tells prospective customers that a widely respected media source thought you were smart, creative, trustworthy and generally awesome enough to feature. And it doesn’t matter if a couple of years have passed since you were last featured in, say, The New York Times. If you’ve been in The New York Times once, you have now been “Featured in The New York Times” forever. It’s a badge that remains with you for life (or at least the life of your brand).
Even in today’s world, people still trust the media. If a business is featured (in a non-negative way, of course), it must be good. So if you’re looking for ways to grease the wheels of your sales, media attention is the equivalent of a hundred 5-star Yelp reviews – basically, magic dust for your sales funnel. I know a photographer who swears that her printed magazine feature of a real wedding gets prospective brides to pull out their check books like she’s never seen before.
Media attention takes time and if you’re hiring someone else to handle it an investment. However, if your business goal is to grow, it can be a powerful tool.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get media attention, check out our DIY Media Outreach Toolkit that include a Media Database, Template Portfolio and our book “How Wedding Pros Get Published”.
Sasha Vasilyuk is an award-winning journalist and the CEO of I DO PR, a strategic public relations agency for bridal, travel and lifestyle brands, with offices in New York City and San Francisco. Her clients have included Weddington Way, HoneyBook, Best Buy, Virginia Tourism Authority and many others.