I enjoy meeting with manufacturers alongside a member of The NEWS’ sales team. I always get to be the good cop, and it usually goes much better than when I was in college. Back then, no matter how bad the bad cop was acting, I was still going home alone. This face will do that to you.
In these meetings, my sales cohorts are selling something; I am not. My job is to gather the most up-to-date and important information and share it with our HVACR contractor readers. A lot of times, some of that information can be provided by manufacturers who have a firm grasp on the trends in the industry. Of course, it’s our job to disseminate the good information from the commercial stuff to make sure the content is beneficial to our readers. From the manufacturers’ perspectives, it’s a great way to get their names in front of possible customers and be “thought leaders.” And, of course, it’s free. Are you doing that with your customers or prospective customers?
MONETIZING MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES
In much of the country, it’s quickly becoming heating season. Do you have important information to share with customers before they fire their furnaces up? If you had a couple of minutes of their time, I bet you’d talk about how important furnace filters are and explain how often they should be changed. Perhaps you’d touch on the importance of getting the equipment checked out by a professional. Maybe you’d give an update on efficiency levels and how much energy is saved when a furnace is upgraded. How about talking about the importance of a humidifier going into the winter months?
How much would you pay for that opportunity? It might just cost you a few minutes of your time.
In my previous life, I was the editor-in-chief of a local, weekly newspaper. To say we were understaffed would be a major understatement. I was working 60 hours per week and still rarely had enough content to fill up that week’s issue. We were always in need of good stories. If a local HVAC contractor had provided me a 600-word story on the importance of furnace maintenance prior to the winter months, I would’ve been ecstatic. If he would have provided me a good photo, I might have kissed him on the lips.
One caveat: You do need to provide the story. Offering a local reporter an interview opportunity may seem beneficial to you, but remember, the reporter still has to find time to conduct the interview, write the piece, edit its content, and schedule it for publication. While this is certainly an option, don’t be surprised if you land at the bottom of the journalist’s list and fail to receive a return call. If you’re not a talented writer, or simply do not have the time, hire someone to do it. I’m sure you can get an aspiring author to do it for $100. This is much cheaper than advertising and, most likely, more effective.
This opportunity is not limited to print media, either. Local television stations can be just as attractive. A good place to start would be those local news morning shows — you know the ones I am talking about. They all have “wake up” in their titles and feature three or four people laughing way too hard at jokes that are not that funny. Oh, and they all look like they’re about six cups of coffee deep by 7 a.m.
The point is, your company name will be in front of thousands of potential customers. You’ll be recognized as the authority in your marketplace. You can’t put a price tag on that … and, luckily, there is no price tag, just an hour or so of your time.
I suggest you contact the media outlets you’re advertising with first. While I’m sure they don’t have a pay-to-play policy, they should have a little more goodwill toward you. Good luck getting your company out in front of as many people as possible.
Publication date: 11/16/2015