Most folks are followers. They’re like sheep in some respects – they wait in line to get behind a leader, a pace setter, or a spokesperson.
Many of these people could be the leader themselves, except they would prefer to stay out of the limelight, the public eye, or the position of attention. Certainly, “to each his own.” I’m not being critical of those that don’t like to lead.
Some people prefer not to lead out because they fear others will think they’re fanatical, or after attention, or that they have a big ego.
Still others don’t want to expend the energy, commit the time, or put their reputation on the line for a cause.
What does all this have to do with Letters to the Editor?
Most folks love to read other common people’s comments and opinions.
In fact, many widely read newspapers claim that their printed Letters to the Editor column is the most widely read page in the whole paper!
So even though people don’t generally claim the spotlight, they are more than willing to read about others that have something to say in public.
The masses love a hero. They love to get behind and follow someone who is willing to step up and lead the charge or speak up for the common man or plead the case of the downtrodden.
Since you are a solo business owner, you will be seen as an expert in your particular niche and in the small business world. At least, that should be one of your goals … to become an authority, someone others will follow, trust, and listen to.
When the opportunity presents itself, and it does almost every week, why not take the time to send a Letter to the Editor and, in an incidental way, promote your business. We’re not talking about blatant marketing here … most editors will reject that disguise.
It goes without saying that you will never get your comments published if you do nothing more than pitch your business. Forget that approach.
But what if you write a thoughtful, short letter in direct answer to (either in support of or against) the current editorial?
What if you speak from the vantage point of a small business owner being impacted in the community by whatever the editorial is about?
When you sign your name, you can add your business in this manner: Tom Smith, CEO, MyInternetCompany.com
You might also consider mentioning something at your web site that is available free that directly relates to the editor’s opinion.
You can always develop a white paper, or a company position on a certain topic that is addressed in the editorial.
You’ll have to use your creativity and common sense here. But I can tell you that the benefits of getting a mention in a newspaper or magazine are significant, especially if you can somehow work your web site URL into the print.
Many of the newspapers and magazines have online editions and it’s generally easier to get your comments published there than in the print editions.
It’s great to find your company information or URL mentioned at one of these high-traffic news sites.
The readers of the Letters to the Editor will assume you’re somebody of authority, someone that knows his stuff because you got your opinion published by the editor.
Here’s the format you should use:
1- Keep the letter short and directly focused on the editorial or subject
2- Identify the editorial or article you’re commenting on
3- Summarize your position, for or against the subject
4- Explain why you agree or disagree – and be specific
5- Add any documentation from your business experience that will give credibility to your position (include a very “mild” business reference as the source of the information, for example, www.yourbusiness.com)
6- End with a one sentence summary
7- Proof read for spelling, accuracy, etc.
8- Get your comment to the editor as soon after the article as possible (stale letters are those older than 3 days)
9- Include your name, title, business name, address, URL, and phone number. The editor will decide (according to editorial policy) how much of your personal details he will publish. It’s best to give him your full contact information – he will pick and choose what he needs.
Marketing that doesn’t really appear to be marketing is some of the best exposure your business can generate. A display ad containing the things you write in a letter to the editor is worth thousands of advertising dollars.
To your online business success!