As a small-business owner, you can never have too much positive exposure. When you’re talked about in the news or online, you can attract new customers or clients. Every news story is essentially a piece of free marketing, so the more stories you can pick up, the better.

However, getting exposure isn’t always easy. Because you can’t just pay a reporter to talk about your company, you’ll need to provide them with legitimate reasons to feature your small business in their stories.

You don’t need to have a complete PR department to get adequate exposure for your small business. If you’re hoping to get some more feature stories about your business and make the most of the recognition you get, here are a few tips you should keep in mind.

Establish Goals

As with any other piece of marketing, you want to have clearly defined goals that you hope to accomplish through your exposure. These goals will help you determine which individuals to target, why you want to target them and how the story could benefit your business.

Lay out a few goals you would like to accomplish with your increased exposure. Whether you’re hoping to attract new talent to work at your company or you need some new business leads, having a predetermined purpose can help you get the most from your media exposure.

Find Your Target Audience

While any positive exposure can benefit you, if it’s being sent to the wrong individuals, you’ll probably see very little return. To get the most benefit from exposure, you want to ensure the people within your target audience are actually coming into contact with the news stories.

Instead of going for general news channels or newspapers, consider niche publications for your industry. Consider what your target audience is reading, watching or engaging with and do what you can to get featured on those sites or channels. While they may have smaller numbers, they will have a higher concentration of your target audience, improving your conversion rates.

Get in Touch

While there may be some times when a reporter comes to you ready to write a story, more often than not you’ll need to contact them to let them know you have something worth sharing. Having a strong relationship with journalists, reporters, bloggers and editors in your area will make it easier to get featured.

Collect a database of contact information for the various writers in your city or the area you serve. Before you ask for an entire feature about your company, reach out to see if there is anyway you can help with a story they’re already working on. Reporters are always looking for insights, quotes or details about a story from people in the community. Once you’ve helped them on something small, then you can pitch your larger idea.

Create a Press Release

When sending your pitch to a journalist, they will typically look for a press release that covers the basic details about what event you’d like covered. Having a press release completed and ready to go can ensure you waste as little time as possible when talking to busy reporters.

Because reporters get dozens or even hundreds of press releases each week, you need to find a way to get yours to stand out. If you’re not a strong writer, outsource the work and have a professional create your press release for you. The stronger your press release is, the better chance you have at getting the feature.

Feature Articles on Your Website

Once you’ve been able to secure an article or other feature, proudly display it on your website. While your audience may have caught it the first time around, give them a place to refer to if they want to learn more about what has been said about your company. This is also a great way for new visitors considering your business to learn about you and what you offer.

Chalmers & Kubeck Inc. has a great setup for how it displays its news articles. Featured right in the navigation bar, the News tab brings you to a page comprised entirely of articles written about the company. This allows visitors to view each piece of news related to the company without needing to search the web themselves.

Follow Up

If a reporter has taken the time to write about your business, always show your appreciation. There is a lot of competition for news articles, so getting selected is a big deal. If you hope to be written about again, be sure you recognize the favor the reporter has done for you.

Sending a handwritten note thanking them for their time is a great place to start. Also, be sure to let them know you’re available for additional pieces in the future and that you look forward to keeping in touch. Once you’ve established a strong relationship with the reporter, it will be easier to get featured in the future.

The right exposure story can be game-changing for a small business, but they aren’t easy to get. If you’re hoping to be recognized by the local or national media, follow these tips for connecting with reporters and building lasting relationships.