Trust.  You can’t buy it. You can’t fake it. You can’t manufacture it with a snazzy ad campaign.  A new Gallup poll indicates most Americans trust Small Business three times as much as traditional “Big” Business.

Why? The distance factor – that is, the impression that most major businesses are focused on ‘bottom-line’ Wall Street issues that have little or nothing to do with local community and everyday consumers. Also, globalization – the more big companies try to reach overseas to expand market-share and revenue, the less interest and commitment they seem to have to American issues. And of course the bailouts recently offered to rescue big business – with little or no similar opportunities for the little guy.

This “trust” advantage affords small business owners a powerful opportunity to solicit media coverage and offer opinions on news-worthy topics as diverse as health-care, immigration, unemployment and technology.

The only trick is knowing how to get your knowledge, your experience, your perspective – in front of that local reporter.

Here’s how:

(1) Watch / Read / Listen. Pay attention to the media coverage you would like to solicit. What reporter seems to cover the stories / topics / issues most pertinent to your business?

(2) Google the Phone Number. Google is an amazing resource to track down e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Use the reporter’s name, then the area code in quotation marks (“214″).

(3) Consider Your Perspective as a Small Business-Owner. What unique perspective do you have to offer on a pertinent news issue? Maybe you see health-care reform from a different angle. Maybe immigration and/or minority employment are of specific interest to you. Perhaps you have recently adopted a new technology at work.

(4) Make the call. Yes, you’ll probably get voice mail. So here’s the formula: Tell the reporter you like his or her work. Then say that you’ve got a dynamite story that would be perfect for a future TV news story / column / radio interview. Then say that no one else has covered it and you want THIS reporter to have it first. Then provide your name and phone number. Then hang up. You’re almost guaranteed to get a call back.

(5) Remember that even if you DON’T get a call back, you’ve only spent a few minutes and one phone call. So try it again!

Most importantly, make sure you’re suggesting a legitimate news story. Would your neighbors be interested? Would YOU be interested if someone else were being quoted?

Again, TRUST is the most potent currency.

Small Business Owners have a tremendous opportunity to get coverage now – by leveraging public opinion and developing a trust-worthy relationship with a journalist.

Try it!

Author: Jeff Brady, Brady Media Group