I recently conducted a workshop focused on one of the least utilized Chamber benefits - Basin Business. To begin with, I attempted to discover why more members aren't using it. The reasons are fairly simple:
- You don't know what Basin Business is.
- You don't know how to submit items for it.
- You don't know why you should use it.
- You don't know what to write about.
Fortunately, the answers are fairly simple too.
What is Basin Business?
It's the Chamber's monthly publication distributed in nearly 40,000 copies of the Herald and News with more copies distributed through the Chamber office. It's designed to be a business journal of sorts. Focused on business, it helps celebrate your successes, share your expertise, and promote your organization. I'd venture to say it has a purpose within our economic development. Many in our community don't understand what the business community has to offer or the wide variety of services/products provided within our county. By sharing our expertise, success stories, and community activity, we can help create a positive outlook for our community and entice other "could-be" entrepreneurs to place their roots here.
How do I use it?
This one is easy. First, be a Chamber member. Second, brainstorm topics. Third, write something. Fourth, send it to us via email by the 10th of the month. Not a strong writer? Ask a friend, ask a co-worker, ask your staff, and even ask us. We can help you clean it up, proofread, and even offer suggestions for writing.
Why should I use it?
Because 40,000 is a strong number that shouldn't be ignored and neither are the words "no charge." If I told you there was an easy way to reach 40,000 people every month at no charge (other than your annual Chamber membership), wouldn't you jump at that opportunity? That's what Basin Business is. Putting your message in front of existing and potential customers - basically for free.
What do I have to write about?
Many members struggle with ideas for what to write. By all means, call us here at the Chamber and we can help you brainstorm but here are some suggestions:
Focus on the people: Write about awards received, promotions, new hires, recognition, or the board of directors.
Promote a product or service: Do you have a new or improved product or service? Focus on what's better, why it's improved. Tell the readers what problem it solved.
Inform: Have you recently conducted a survey? Share those results. Generate a series of articles that share your expertise and position you as the "go-to" person in your field. Have you written something that was featured in a trade magazine? Share that.
Milestones: Celebrate anniversaries.
Philanthropy: Share your community support and generosity in charitable endeavors.
Now that you know the what, why, and how, sit down and write. Craft a message and send it in. Try to avoid boring, predictable, corporate-sounding press releases. Journalists are sent average every day - look for topics that are different, unique, new, and innovative.
Having a hard time getting started? This handy worksheet might help. Just follow these steps:
- What is your news? Jot down one sentence that answers that question. Focus on what's the most exciting or interesting about your news. Share any key details.
- Write some background and details about your news. Give context or information on the problem being solved.
- Ask for quotes from customers, clients, supervisors, employees, or other leaders within your organization.
- Write a few more details and background.
- Share the who, what, why of your business.
- Include the important info - how does the customer find you? Include the email, website, phone numbers, and address of your business if applicable.
- Write a headline that captures the essence of your news.
Following these tips will help you develop a press release or article that's ready to send in. Did I mention this benefit is free to members of the Chamber?
There are also affordable advertising opportunities available for those interested.
For more tips on using Chamber benefits, give us a call at 541-884-5193.