5 Ways Media Centers can Lift up Local Businesses

Friday night, I always get Banh Mi sandwiches from my favorite New Brighton Vietnamese restaurant. Since COVID-19, I have continued to get take-out and purchase gift cards from this restaurant. That is something we can do as individuals. As media centers, we can do more. 

1. Human Interest Videos 

Before the Minnesota Stay-at-Home order was issued, we produced a video about two local restaurants giving back to the community, The Eggroll Queen, and Granite City. Both of these businesses were making and giving out free lunches for children. Highlighting the impact they had on the community while also giving them a PR push is a win for everyone.

PRO TIP: Keep the content focused on the community so it doesn’t come off as a commercial. 


2. Chamber of Commerce Collaborations

Chambers are built on face to face networking. As media centers, we can provide creative resources to help the chambers continue to fulfill their mission. One example is a weekly virtual networking event. Business leaders can log into the meeting, and hear updates about the state and federal business regulation directly from the CEO of their chamber. 

PRO TIP: Offer your chambers tools without expecting anything in return, like a sheet explaining how to use Zoom or Skype effectively for a meeting.


3. Business Resource Shows

Similar to collaborating with the Chambers, we’ve facilitated a weekly live show via Facebook, called Check In, that allows businesses to directly speak to representatives, chambers, and other business resources in this ever-changing environment. 

PRO TIP: Do this show every week. The landscape is changing so quickly; more information is needed. Also, quickly take down any outdated information. 


4. Check in with your Sponsors

We have numerous fiscal sponsors. We have called all of them to see how they are doing, and if there is anything we can do to help. This has also helped us “story spot,” which is finding human interest stories that can bring attention to what they are doing. 

PRO TIP: Givers Gain. Call and check in on them without asking for anything. Offer resources if you know of any. They will remember this.


5. Work on the County Level

We have a close relationship with our county, Ramsey County. Check in with them on updated resources, such as interest free loan programs, or a free program like Open to Business. Share those resources in your e-newsletter, social media, or work together to create a live program. 

PRO TIP: Don’t wait for your county or state to come to you, seek them out with ways to help them. 


Continue to reach out to your local businesses, and sponsors. They were there for you to sponsor your football games and graduations, now it is your turn to be there for them. 


How has your media center helped the business community?