4 Secrets For Getting Media Coverage for Your Business
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

Media coverage was a powerful ally for me as a small business owner. For nearly a decade, I owned and operated Soul … Day Spa and Salon, a small chain in Washington D.C. When I opened, I knew no one in the media or what they were looking for. (Plus, I could not afford the $5,000 a month that publicists wanted to charge me to find out.) So, I did my own research. Soon, Soul was featured in magazines such as People, Allure, The Washingtonian; newspapers such as The Washington Post; television programs such as CBS Morning News and Ambush Makeover; and on local radio stations such as WPGC, WKYS, and WHUR.

Like your most loyal customers, the media gives your business credibility. It says, “Hey folks, trust us. This business is legit.” Also, the media can reach lots of potential customers instantly. Finally, the media can make you a brand leader overnight. (Just ask Dr. Phil what his practice looked like before Oprah.) Here are four winning strategies for becoming a newsworthy small biz:

Be innovative. When I opened, I sent press kits that included an invitation to visit, a menu of services, and photos of the business) to all the magazines read by my target market. Soon, some of the writers followed up, had services and wrote about their experiences. Those write-ups changed my business overnight!

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Be relevant. Courtney Gwynn, a producer for NewsChannel 8’s “Let’s Talk Live,” encourages you to tie your unique business idea to relevant and current news topics. For example, leading up to Labor Day, her show featured a fashion expert who discussed “all white outfits for the Labor Day weekend.” Similarly, radio stations love giveaways for its loyal listeners. Contact your local station’s promotions department, tell them about your business, and ask if they have tie-in opportunities. Although giveaways are not free, they are a cost-effective way for small businesses to gain on-air mentions. Angelique Alston, assistant program director for Washington D.C.’s WPGC 95.5, agrees. Soul successfully partnered for years with her and WPGC for Mother’s Day and Christmas promotions.

Be of service. Businesses that do good, do well. Donate some products or services to organizations in the community. At Soul, we partnered with Rachael’s Women’s Shelter by donating manicures, massages, and hair services. Both The Washington Post and CBS Morning News featured our program, and it was well received by our clients and the greater community.

Be a dreamer… and an expert. Don’t you enjoy stories about someone stepping out on faith and pursuing a dream? It gives hope and encouragement to others. That’s what People magazine thought when they featured me in a “Quit Your Job, Follow Your Dream” story. Additionally, the longer you are in business, the more knowledge you have. Share those lessons. Look for opportunities to brand yourself as an expert to writers.

They say that “good news travels fast.” When you partner your great business with solid media relationships, however, news about your company will travel faster than ever.

Nicole Cober, Esq. is a partner at Cober Johnson, a law firm focusing on trademarks, brand licensing and small biz consulting. She is a former small biz owner of the award-winning chain, Soul…Day Spa and Salon. She is also a Legal Consultant for Washington D.C.’s NewsChannel 8 and author of the soon-to-be released book: CEO of My Soul: My Dos and Don’ts of Small Biz. Follow her on Twitter @CoberJohnson and like her on FB @CoberJohnson. Visit her website at www.coberjohnson.com.

As a trailblazer in the small business community for nearly a decade, Nicole Cober is an advocate for the small business community. For eight years, Ms. Cober owned and operated a day spa and hair salon chain that served as a revitalization catalyst in a developing area of the nation's capital. During that time, she received national media coverage regarding small business management and entrepreneurism in various publications such as People, Essence, Allure, Entrepreneur, The Washingtonian, The Washington Post, Upscale and Black Enterprise. Ms. Cober was also featured on the CBS Morning News, BET and the reality show, "Ambush Makeover." The salon and spa received recognition by the Washington City Paper as "The Best Stylist" and "Best Spa" and Ms. Cober's commitment to the community was on display annually when she used her business for philanthropy by provided complementary services to Rachael's Women's Shelter. Ms. Cober blends both her legal and business skills together to offer a uniquely powerful list of services for clients. Affectionately known as "The Lawyer-preneur," she now seeks to empower start-ups and local small businesses with by creating effective business, branding and growth strategies. Ms. Cober is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley as well as Howard University School of Law. She was a judicial law clerk for the Chief Judge of the DC Court of Appeals and worked for a number of years at Dickstein Shapiro as a litigation attorney, specializing in employment and insurance coverage law. Currently, she is a regular contributor to Black Enterprise and Citibank's Women and Co. as well as a legal consultant for NewsChannel 8 WJLA. Ms. Cober is also a public speaker, coach, a contributor to Pulse Magazine, a publication devoted to international spa management, and soon to be author who will publish a book later this year titled “CEO of My Soul”, which chronicles the do's and dont's of her early days as an entrepreneur. Follow her on twitter @CoberJohnson

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