As daily newspapers shrink in size due to evaporating advertising revenue, weekly and monthly business journals in major U.S. markets continue to be a valuable source for getting the word out about your business to a highly relevant and captive audience of other businesspeople.
You are most likely already familiar with the business magazine or newspaper in your own community. American City Business Journals publishes more than 40 business journals in markets such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Wichita, Kansas. The reach of these business publications is formidable. ACBJ-affiliated titles alone reach more than 500,000 subscribers in print and more than 7 million online visitors per month. Much of the content of these publications is perfectly suited to cleverly and effectively give your business exposure.
If you have a good story, pitch it to the editor of your local business journal (whose information typically can be found on the journal’s Web site). These editors are looking not only to put a local spin on national trends but are eagerly hunting for business news unique to their market (and that could have implications for other small businesses in other markets). For example, the Tampa Bay Business Journal carried a story on how an appliance retailer boosted business with a recent showroom remodeling. The Business Journal of Milwaukee profiled the owner of a locally based chain of movie theaters, reporting that ticket sales were booming during the economic downturn as the public looks to entertainment as a way to take their minds off the bad news. Every business has a story to tell in these times.
One way to get your story in print is by doing something you already do every day: Stay up on the national and international news headlines. Could you put a local spin on a larger trend, such as a “green” initiative? Is there anything you have to say about the national decline in nonprofit donations (if you have a nonprofit or donate to one)? What about Washington’s virtual takeover of the U.S. automotive industry (if you are in some way involved in the auto business, such as a local car dealer)?
You could submit your own story about what your company is doing, big steps such as switching to alternative energy sources to power your business and smaller moves such as replacing toxic cleaning supplies with environmentally friendly ones.
Your story might make not only local news but could even get exposure nationally. Case in point: Web sites operated by chains such as ACBJ include not only business news tailored to each city but also syndicated content produced across sites in a range of cities. A recent capsule of small business stories was carried on ACBJ-owned sites in markets including Washington, D.C., Seattle, Nashville, Tennessee, and Orlando, Florida, and featured stories from businesses in various cities.
Many local business journals and their sites also feature profiles of small businesses. A recent piece in the San Jose Business Journal profiled a Silicon Valley–based diagnostics-testing software producer whose clients include Facebook and Sony Corp. The owner of the business was given the opportunity to identify his short-term goals, predict how his business would change over the next five years, and talk about competitive issues. Could yours be suited for such a profile? Have you done something unique in your field or in the community that makes you and your business newsworthy?