Right now in 2008, arguably the biggest story in the news is the crisis facing Detroit’s “Big Three” auto makers, General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. Every day, there are more stories coming out about the situation facing each of the companies – which have now banded together to try and get public funds as a bailout to the industry.
Although we could spend hours talking about this issue, we will instead turn our focus on how you, as a small business owner, can get in the news and join the conversation to get your company some publicity. First, you have to figure out how you fit into this picture. Are you an auto dealer? A parts supplier? A secondary company that relies on the health of the car companies and/or car workers? Where do you fit in? This is critical to then developing your “angle.”
Next, simply put together a press release talking about how this issue affects you. Here’s the important part, though. You must find a newsworthy angle, otherwise your opinion is just an opinion – and not necessarily news. So do a poll, talk about some actual trends you’re seeing, or include some stats about your historical sales compared to your projected sales given the results of the bailout. Reporters want to share stats with their readers or viewers. Look at your company’s stats to see if any coincide with trends being discussed by the media.
When you have your release drafted, you will want to do some research on which reporters are doing stories on this topic. Do a simple Google search to find these stories. On Google, click news at the top to filter out companies. Get the contact information for these reporters and send them your release while letting them know you are more than happy to be a quotable resource for their future stories. Reporters are always looking for a good quote.
John Sternal is a veteran public relations professional with more than 15 years experience serving clients in a variety of industries on both the agency and corporate sides. John has worked with members of the national media to develop stories that serve their readers/viewers in an effort to educate on topics that benefit his clients/employers.
John has had the great opportunity to work on everything from sports marketing to natural gas pipelines, and high technology to the world of automotive.
His experiences in PR span a wide range, including media relations, spokesperson duties, media training, corporate communications, event management, and strategic thought leadership. John has written many articles that have been published in magazines and newspapers across the country, and he has also served as editor of two media publications for a national sports team.
John says his favorite PR moment was when he helped the NHL’s communications department during the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals. He was on the ice working with photo journalists during the Cup presentation in front of a packed Joe Louis Arena.
Originally from Connecticut, John grew up in Tampa, Fla., and currently lives in South Florida. He enjoys golf and bicycling, and although he lives in Florida, John still considers hockey his favorite sport to watch. He’s also started to take up sailing as a hobby, and enjoys learning about fine wines from different regions of the world.