The Best Marketing is Free Marketing

Filed in Business Management, Sales & Marketing by on March 17, 2016 1 Comment

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign proves at least one thing: you don’t have to spend the most money on advertising to beat (at least for the moment) the competition.

Reporter Interview mediaHis advantage largely stems from the seemingly non-stop publicity in the press – publicity that costs him nothing, but has significantly more value than traditional paid advertising.

Using standard advertising rates, the media coverage Trump has received – for free – thus far in his campaign was reportedly valued at $2 billion. Yet the money he’s spent on advertising is a small fraction of that of the other candidates.

For those of us not named Trump, it’s slightly more difficult to gain media attention. But it’s still very possible, and definitely worth the effort.

The keys to effective media relations include recognizing the right opportunities and knowing who to contact.

2015 NAHB Remodelers Chair Robert Criner, GMR, GMB, CAPS, knows the tremendous value of working with the media, which has long been a big portion of his marketing strategy. Criner, owner of Criner Remodeling in Newport News, Va., was recently interviewed via Skype on the Weather Channel for a segment on seasonal weather tips.

“It’s a significantly better validation of the quality of your work and enhances the overall reputation of your company,” said Criner. “It requires very little effort, and you’ll get a lot more bang for buck compared to paid advertising.”

Criner admits that being in the news won’t beef up business overnight and it can’t be your only marketing strategy. But he says it will certainly help to better position yourself as an authority on a given subject, setting you apart as the go-to professional in your area.

A few pieces of advice:

  • Look to the local media. Local media outlets will reach a much higher percentage of your potential clients. You are also much more likely to get a response from a local reporter, and you can more easily build a rapport with them over time. Determine which news programs and publications are the most relevant to your potential clients, and then identify specific people to contact. Many reporters and editors include their email addresses on their company websites and at the end of the articles they write.
  • Lean on your local HBA. Leaders at your HBA can help you get started. And being affiliated with your HBA also connects you to NAHB and its staff, who can create a customized media list of reporters you might want to contact. NAHB can also supply supporting data or information to help further emphasize the significance of the story topic.
  • Proactively pitch story ideas. Not everything is considered newsworthy, no matter how important something might be to you. Focus on recognizing unique connections between your expertise and topics of broad public interest or timeliness (i.e., the weather, local economy, holidays, seasons, community events, etc.). When reaching out to reporters, be as brief and concise as possible. Boil down your story idea to just a few sentences explaining its significance. If you can readily provide a visual, such as high-quality photos or video, be sure to mention it. But do not send email attachments until after the reporter responds.
  • Show some social media savvy. Being featured in a news story is just the beginning. Social media gives you the power to get some extra marketing mileage out of that story. Posting video, photos or links to the story on your company’s social media accounts could open up opportunities for follow-up interviews and lead to additional coverage.

NAHB offers its members free access to several toolkits with resources to help develop media strategies. The list includes a comprehensive toolkit for New Homes Month in April specifically created to highlight the benefits of purchasing a new home as the spring buying season kicks off. 


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  1. Good advice!
    Since we are all not Donald Trump, please make sure your news is positive and informative!
    ONwards and UPwards!

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