If you run a small business
and occasionally there is a demand for your products or
services overseas, should you really be concerned about
attaining foreign media coverage? A friend in Chicago,
who runs a consulting firm catering to upscale clients
in Europe, asked me this question recently. The short
answer to her question is yes!
Businesses of all sizes are competing in a global economy.
Almost all companies have web sites, and if you are selling
products or services directly through your website, then
the chances are great that many of your clients may reside
outside of the United States. So if your company sells
widgets and they are selling like Fish 'n Chips in London,
why not contact one of the business reporters at the Times
to tell your story? Here are a couple of examples to illustrate
A few years ago while working for a small online publishing
firm, our marketing team monitored our web traffic reports
every month. Over time we discovered that a large segment
of our readership were Russian. The traffic was so significant
that we eventually launched a Russian edition of the magazine
complete with Russian columnists. We, of course, threw
a media party in Moscow and invited the local media. When
the magazine debuted we received some great press coverage
from the Russian newspapers.
It happened again while handling PR for another online
publisher. When the company wanted to launch a Spanish
edition of their website, our team contacted the Spanish
news wires. The company's president conducted interviews
in both Spanish and English and the story was disseminated
across Spanish newspaper and radio outlets throughout
the United States and also Latin America.
Intimidation and language barrier fears are probably
the main reasons why more small-business owners are unwilling
to make contact with the foreign press. Although communication
may be a problem in some instances, don't forget that
English is the language
of international business. Thus, you'd be surprised
by just how many journalists speak English because a lot
of them have worked in the United States covering stories.
But if you're still nervous about contacting the foreign
press then there are two useful tactics.
First, make contact via e-mail rather than phone. Even
if the reporter doesn't speak perfect English, chances
are he or she will still be able to understand written
communication perfectly well.
Second, most foreign newspapers maintain a news bureau
in major cities. It's usually just one reporter covering
stories, but contact them with your story idea. Even though
they're are often very busy, they still are always hungry
for a great story.
The bottom line is this. All news is local. Whether the
reporter is in London, Bangalore or Indianapolis, they
all want the same thing: a great story that appeals to
the local audience and is relevant to the news beat that
they cover. Never losing sight of the impact your products
or services have on a foreign audience yet also being
able to make a meaningful connection is an invaluable
skill that anyone can learn with practice. Not only will
you be showing the local reporter that you understand
them, but it will just make your story that much more
appealing. And that's how you put the local spin on a
you have a media relations question? Ask
Carolyn! Your questions could be featured in an up-coming
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