If a great product is created but nobody knows about it, does it really exist? This isn’t some philosophical question without answer: of course it doesn’t exist!

This is why marketing and PR is so important, especially for new businesses. Making sure people know about your product is a prerequisite for success and for obvious reasons, most new businesses see media attention as one of the best ways to introduce their products to the public.

Getting that attention, however, can be difficult because there’s so much competition. Here are 5 simple ways you can maximize your media outreach.

Have a story to tell. Nobody likes hearing about products; people love stories. Present your product or business as a compelling story and the chances that someone in the media will be intrigued go up dramatically. The wonderful thing about stories: there’s no limit to how creative they can be so be sure to spend some time coming up with something original and clever.

Time your approach. Most of us have a natural instinct: we want to promote our businesses wide and far as soon as possible. But you have to be realistic: is the timing right? If you don’t have a great story to tell (yet), hold off and make sure you’re working to craft one. Maybe it’s a story about how your business was launched. Maybe it’s a story about your first customer. Whatever it is, wait until you have it and then begin your media outreach.

Start local. The national stage is appealing but the local stage is a great place to audition. Before making a concerted effort to reach out to national media, try local newspapers, radio stations, bloggers, etc. You’ll be surprised how desperately many local media outlets are looking for stories relevant to your community. Do yourself and them a favor and deliver one!

Be selective. By all means, put out a press release but also take the time to consider who specifically is most likely to be interested in your story. You can then reach out personally. It’s these approaches that typically pay off, even though they require more time and effort.

Be persistent. Just about everyone in the media, from journalists to bloggers, is bombarded by pitches on a non-stop basis. If you’re going to get through, you usually have to be persistent. Obviously there’s a fine line between persistent and harassment so use your judgment and be respectful.

By taking a smart, thoughtful approach to your media outreach, you’ll be surprised how quickly your hopes can turn into ‘hits‘.

Photo credit: kimba via Flickr.