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Targeting National Media: a Local Success Story Featuring Local Business Owner Leah Fried Sedwick

The Reader (1910)Like most of the women who contribute and enjoy the many wonderful posts on this blog, I have an affinity for women in business and find great pleasure in reading about their professional development, important milestones, achievements and successes.

It is in this very spirit I share with you the recent media success of a local business woman, Ms. Leah Fried Sedwick of Olde Towne Pet Resort. Already a year ago (man, where does the time fly??), Leah and her management team had sought my assistance for marketing and PR. Their primary goal at the time was to help get the word out about their pet resort’s second location opening which was scheduled for October 2011.

As part of this effort, it was left up to me to define story angles of high value to numerous media outlets both in our area and beyond. This effort first began by answering some fundamental questions:

  • Market Trends: What market trends in pet care and pet boarding are relevant? Timely? Of interest?
  • Industry Research: What are the industry research think tanks saying about pet hospitality? Pet boarding? Pet grooming?
  • Headline Homework: What are the pet-centric magazines and blogs currently reporting? How are they positioning topics? What story headlines are on magazine covers or listed as most popular blog post topics?
  • Differentiation:  What key features or assets can the client’s pet boarding facility best speak to? Address? Highlight? And how do these features tie into a premier pet boarding experience?
  • Business Focus: Which business-focused organizations, communities or publications will find the pet resort’s expansion relevant and meaningful to their own audiences?
  • Human Touch: Are there any poignant details worth sharing with regard to the how the business was first conceived? Launched? What human stories of defeat and triumph exist that will move, motivate or inspire?

After breaking down each of the above bullets in greater detail, the “Business Focus” bullet was one I felt had some interesting media possibilities including:

  • Small business angle example: “The pet resort is a niche, small business with almost 10 years of service in Northern Virginia”  (small business-specific angle is of interest to anyone covering tales pertaining to proprietors and their operations)
  • Local business angle example: “The pet resort is a local business with many years catering to pet parents and families in the Springfield, Virginia area” (strong hyper-local angle of interest for local economic development coverage)
  • Business expansion angle example: “Local small business expands operations into new, second location in spite of economic recession” (focuses on growth caused by increased demand despite challenging economical climate)
  • Family-owned business angle example: “Mother-daughter duo bands together to proudly welcome new pet guests at their second location” (touching, moving … who doesn’t enjoy family-owned business success stories?)
  • Women in Business angle:  Pet resort founder and President Leah Fried Sedwick to debut her business’s second location in the heart of the Dulles Technology Corridor (highlights the achievements of an entrepreneurial woman expanding her business)

As I suspected, it was the strong combination of the business-specific angles that proved most powerful in attracting a national media opportunity by way of MSNBC’s Your Business show, a show marketed as “the only television show dedicated to issues affecting small business owners.” Now in its fourth season, the program has profiled hundreds of small business owners and offered advice from countless business experts and investors.

Wow! This was such a wonderful score for the pet resort! I can’t tell you how happy I was for them. As a digital storyteller, what you want most is to find the audiences who will care most about the stories you have to share. I believe this is one case where we were able to achieve this with great success.

What I hope those who read this post will benefit most from is that knowing what your media target regularly covers and understanding what the viewers, readers, subscribers or listeners of a given show, publication or blog want to read most should be factored into every single one of your story angle breakdowns.

As you seek to target national media opportunities for your business, think about how to best package your unique story. Using my fundamental questions as a helpful guide, identify the specific details of your story with the most appeal to the audiences of your targeted media outlets.

BTW, for those interested in viewing the segment (entitled “ Growing a High-End Petcare Business by OPEN Forum) which aired on MSNBC, please click here. While focused on the pet resort’s operations, Ms. Sedwick does include numerous nuggets of excellent advice relevant to any entrepreneur interested in their business’ success.

Creative Commons License Image courtesy of Ana y Esteban .

Mayra Ruiz is founder of Ruiz McPherson Communications, a social media influence and digital marketing service based in historic Charles Town, West Virginia. With more than 15 years of hands-on marketing, communications and PR experience, Mayra leads her clients forward on all aspects of creative direction, online promotion and marketing communications with innovation, passion and gusto. When offline, Mayra enjoys “old fashioned” non-techy stuff like cooking, sewing and collecting vintage treasures from area antiques stores. She can be reached at www.twitter.com/mayraruiz orwww.twitter.com/ruizmcpherson (her marketing practice).


    1. As a digital storyteller, what you want most is to find the audiences who will care most about the stories you have to share. I believe this is one case where we were able to achieve this with great success.

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    2. I loved this post because being able to properly target who your audience is – it’s at the root of all good and evil for a business on so many levels. Here, understanding the target audience led to NATIONAL press. Who among us doesn’t think they’d benefit from this at some point? For me personally, this was a very useful breakdown of what questions to ask to help people who may have mis-targeted get back on track. You can use those questions to form mobile marketing strategy, pick the right keywords – it has a myriad of uses.  

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