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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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How Small Businesses Can Leverage Print for Lead Gen

 

How does a small business compete with the big corporations? Simple: with a bit of resourcefulness, some pep, and a lot of thinking outside the box!

Thanks to the web and a host of online tools, small companies can now access the same huge audience as bigger businesses – they just need to be a bit more creative in order to stand out against those huge budgets.

Print offers one very effective avenue to this end. Here are just some of the ways that you can leverage

Get Into a Magazine

One strategy then is to go the old-fashioned route and to try getting coverage in print. Print magazines still have circulations in the tens of thousands in many cases and those readers are all much more likely to pay close attention to the articles and adverts they read in there. As a physical product these can potentially have much more impact, and this can also sometimes give them more 'authority' in that 'not just anyone' can set up their own magazine.

The first tip is to start small. Approach Wired today and you'll likely find that you don't get much of a response (Wired has a total circulation of 851,823 thousand). They get approached by thousands of companies with press releases just like yours every day and that's going to be tough to compete with. Instead then look for a magazine that's very niche or even one that's local and you'll be in with a much better chance of getting covered. If you manage to generate some buzz around your product, blog or service you may find that other magazines start covering the same story.

Another tip is to forget the e-mail for a bit and to try picking up the phone instead. This way you can make much more of an impact and you'll have a much better chance of getting listened to. Get the work number for a journalist or an editor and call them in the start/middle of the month – they'll be looking for stories and if you have something compelling they can write about and sound friendly they'll usually be grateful for the tipoff.

Remember that these magazines don't just want to give you free coverage – they want to write stories that will be interesting to their readers or better yet useful. Try to look for an angle that will appeal to their audience and read a few articles in their magazine to identify the best way to phrase your pitch. If your product isn't inherently different or interesting, then how about you? Have you overcome trials and tribulations to set up your business? Would a magazine aimed at entrepreneurs like to hear your story? If you can't turn this into an engaging story for their audience, then you can always throw a competition or introduce a discount that their readers will want to hear about.

Print Ads

Of course, one other way to get exposure in print media is simply to pay for advertising space. This is a primary source of income for many magazines, so they'll be more than happy to sell you a banner ad or a listing at the back – you just need to call up the sales department. This is worth experimenting with, but as it doesn't take any particular skill we're going to focus on how to get free coverage in this article…

Create Your Own Print Materials

Of course, another option is to simply create your own print materials. This will have all the same benefits as getting coverage in a magazine or other publication: the physical nature of print gives you more authority and clout and also makes your content more memorable, by forcing a physical interaction.

You don’t have to create an entire magazine! You can do, though if your business is large enough to have its own newsroom and access to the necessary tools for publishing, then chances are it’s not really a ‘small business’.

Better is to create fliers, leaflets and portfolios. You can create these using an agency, then hand them out, post them through letter boxes or send them via direct mail. Sometimes the old classics are the best!

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