Doing your own PR
PR, scary stuff right? Something only a big brand needs? Something that sounds like it would cost a whole lot of money? If you've got people skills you've got public relations skills.
Tweet, Circle, Like, Pin and Connect.
Connect with individual journalists and stations (profiles are often managed by show producers) on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook or wherever they hang out. Join in the conversation on their walls and retweet and @ tag their content. Get known for being someone worth listening to and make sure your name is familiar. When you do have something newsworthy, it will be easier to get your foot in the door.
Create something newsworthy
Writing press releases (http://www.talkaboutcreative.com.au/copywriting/press-releases.aspx) for the sake of writing press releases will just annoy your local media. Create a newsworthy item for yourself. Local papers love a local angle, so find a way your business can get their attention. Do you provide a service that you could donate to the local nursing home or kids' sports club? Can you do something for your town or area? Put it on the map somehow?
Create the angle that the media outlet wants
If you're writing for a radio station targeting mums, write about family. If you're writing for a local paper, make it all about your local business. Writing one press release and sending it to a thousand media outlets won't in all likelihood bring you a lot of attention.
Contact the media professionals you wish to talk to first. Tell them your elevator pitch and let them know you're sending through a press release. Ask them if there is anything you can do to make your story really fit their publication. If you can't get through to the decision maker, send a "post it note email". Write an email with only enough information as would fit on a post it note – a kind of preview to let them know your press release is coming. That way, mental red flags will go up when it arrives and it will avoid the dreaded junk folder.
Write a kickarse press release
The best practice for press releases is:
- Catchy, relevant header
- A few lines giving the what, when, where, why and who information
- Succinct paragraphs about your news
- A quote or two
- Plenty of contact information
- Use a quality press release template from a trusted site
Don't mess with them
Journalists and producers are on tight schedules. When they do get in touch, don't waste their time. Be professional and friendly. Make a positive impression and make getting your story in their publication or on their program as simple as possible. Establish a relationship and let them know you'd be happy to give expert quotes on your field of expertise in the future.
Sign up for News Sourcing Services
Source Bottle, Expert Guide, Find an Expert and other expert sourcing services deliver press opportunities via daily emails. Some are free and great, some are scams so choose carefully!
Doing your own PR is a great way to get exposure for your business without paying through the nose. You don’t need an expensive publicist if you can find the right angle for your business and the right medium to reach your audience. When it all connects, it's easy!
Dana Flannery is the Creative Director at copywriting firm www.talkaboutcreative.com.au. Talk About Creative provides all kinds of copywriting including PR and SEO copywriting.